There was a new YouGov Scottish poll in this morning’s Times. Topline voting intention figures with changes from their last poll in October are:

Westminster: CON 23%(nc), LAB 28%(-2), LD 6%(+1), SNP 36%(-4), GRN 3%(+2)
Holyrood Constituency: CON 26%(+1), LAB 23%(-2), LD 7%(+2), SNP 38%(-4), GRN 3%(+1)
Holyrood Regional: CON 25%(+2), LAB 22%(-2), LD 7%(+1), SNP 32%(-3), GRN 10%(+4)

Since October the October poll the SNP appear to be down a little (though as ever, it is just one poll). Two things of note: in Westminster Labour are in a clear second place, in Holyrood the Conservatives are second, perhaps the difference between voting for Theresa May and voting for Ruth Davison, or perhaps a reflection of the different political realities in the two places (in Holyrood one might vote for the Tories as an effective opposition to the SNP, whereas in Westminster it is a choice of Tory or Labour led government). Secondly, note the 10% score for the Greens in the Holyrood list, a level of support that would likely lead to a significant boost in seats.

The poll also had the regular independence questions (37% YES and 50% NO, with 36% support for holding a second indyref in the next five years), and the leader ratings. Interestingly there was a substantial drop in Jeremy Corbyn’s ratings on doing a good job – down from 53% on October to 40% now. I can’t think of an obvious reason for this – it may just be last October people were answering in relation to Corbyn’s strong performance at the general election and that is now registering less in responses.

Full tabs are here.

193 Responses to “YouGov’s Scottish poll”

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  1. Very interesting Scotland poll. Though it is just one poll and best to wait to see if it is replicated in another before drawing conclusions.

  2. Having lived most of my life close to the Scottish border (on the English side) I admit to being baffled by Scottish politics. In the current political climate however, these figures seem quite believable., Logical even and showing a degree of sophistication by the electorate.

  3. This always happens. I wait for Anthony to put up a post on a new poll. When he doesn’t I labour long over one with all the details. And then, just before I post it…

    Anyway he forgot to link to the tables so here they are (sample 1002; f/w 12-16 Jan):

    The Westminster figures are the SNP’s worst since the GE, though not actually much different from that election. But at 36% the SNP are at a very vulnerable position. On Anthony’s swingometer it only gives them 28 seats. But if they increase their vote to 39% (even if Con Lab and LD stay the same) it rises to 43. It’s a very delicate position and one that they ought to be able to exploit their advantage in membership to maximise. Whether they are doing so is another matter.

    Keeping the other three the same is relevant beecause in all these polls the drop in SNP support is mainly to benefit the small Parties (Greens, UKIP) rather than them. In addition there is an increase in DKs as we have seen in other polls this year, which may be just seasonal.

    The SNP drop in Holyrood figures may be more worrying, though again smaller Parties mainly benefit and Labour are failing to take much advantage from their GE turnaround. Indeed the most dramatic alteration in this poll is the drop in Corbyn’s rating from +20 in October to -3 now. Most of this comes from supporters of other Parties[1] (SNP voters go from +35 to +5), though Labour voters went from +61 to +40. It would be unwise to see this as a given however (he was -42 in August 16), when you consider his rise in the GE campaign and it may just be a consequence of the endless negative spin he receives.

    It’s the first appearence of Richard Leonard in these polls and he mainly gets DKs (Well 12, badly 27, DK 60). The fact his Labour DKs are higher at 62% and otherwise it’s 28-10=+18 must be a worry though and suggests he’s not off to a good start.

    [1] In 2017 – irritatingly there’s no cross tabs on current Westminster support.

  4. (and of course he’s now put the tabs up)

  5. @AW “I can’t think of an obvious reason for this – it may just be last October people were answering in relation to Corbyn’s strong performance at the general election and that is now registering less in responses.”

    It may be that Corbyn has repeated in the last couple of weeks that we are leaving the SM and the CU combined with the GE Honeymoon fading.

  6. Kezia’ sojourn impacting maybe a little?

    May have damaged Labour’s brand a tad and Corbyn’s stance enabled ‘branch office’ accusations to be levelled.

    Whether fair or not I don’t know but at the very least it diverted attention.

    Also, from down here the SLAB leadership election seemed uninspiring (to be kind) and off putting perhaps.

  7. very interesting poll but of course just one poll. However not good news for SNP and certainly no appetite for leaving the UK.

  8. toh

    dont say that .you will incur the wrath of our posters from the far far north.

    However,it does go to show the political disconnect in the uk at present:

    a. The UK government comprising on the whole remain orientated ministers and a remain parliament persuing brexit:
    b.A scottish administration dedicated to independence against the settled wish of its people;
    c.A welsh administaration pretending that wales did not vote in favour of brexit
    d.A NI situation where the most powerful voice at westminster is pro brexit despite the province as a whole being against it.

  9. This is an interesting poll that confirms or fits small trends that have been ongoing for the past year.

    SNP VI has fallen, as is almost inevitable with a party long in power but in difficult circumstances.

    There appears to be considerable swapping between Tories and Labour, and between Labour and Greens. AW suggests a reason, that the Tories provide the strongest opposition in Holyrood and the strongest anti-independence views, whereas at Westminster Labour are the strongest opposition to the far-right May government.

    I could be one of these swappers, happy to vote Tory for Holyrood, but totally against the present Tory policies in Westminster, so for UK GEs I am anyone but Tory perhaps even SNP.

    The Green List vote rise cf. their Constituency vote, fits with their much greater chance of success in the former. Also the Greens have pushed for higher taxation of higher incomes in Scotland, which is a very popular view here.

  10. DAVWEL

    @” far-right May government.”

    An Oxymoron imo :-)

  11. Colin,

    I think if we could insert emojis the one with a tongue in its’ cheek could have been used by DAVWEL.

    I guess the regular Labour are Far Left posts just irritate after a while.

    One of those spectrum type polls would be useful I think as it is perceptions that matter not always the reality.

  12. @ DANNY (last thread) – Juncker was very clear.

    ““Once the British have left under Article 50 there is still Article 49 which allows a return to membership and I would like that,” he told MEPs.

    Even the Independent picked it up!

    Polling questions do not phrase Brexit questions based the option of “Leave then Rejoin” they ask “Remain” . That is IMHO a very important difference.

    Of course, democracy is not a moment, it is a continuum so certainly any political party can have “Rejoin” as a policy – I expect SNP, LD and perhaps the 48 LAB MPs who broke whip if they have the courage to form their own party or join LD.

    Hard-core LAB-Remain rebel list form y’day can be found via:

    NB 4 Hard-core LAB-Leave also broke whip. Ken Clarke the only CON MP to do so on the “vassal state” vote but he didn’t vote against the overall bill (the 4 LAB-Leave rebels however did vote with CON).

  13. @ SEA CHANGE – I’d also add the election of Richard Leonard (English football supporter and Corbyn crony) as a reason for LAB and especially Corbyn’s drop in opinion but agree being viewed as the hand maiden of Brexit is probably the biggest reason why the left pro-EU Scots are turning against him.

  14. JIM JAM

    Its a comparative measure I think.

    Locations on the scale depend on the viewer & well as the viewed.

  15. Re: the difference between Holyrood constituency and Westminster VI in this poll. There is a table on page two showing how the votes for each party split up between the two questions. The headline table on page one doesn’t include don’t knows which are important.

    The table on page two suggests that Labour’s Westminster VI gains from all of the other parties Holyrood VI, especially the SNP.

    Of the Conservatives’ Holyrood VI only 83% intend to vote for them at Westminster, much lower than Labour’s 95% and the SNPs 90%. Only 2% of the CON Holyrood VI actually goes to Labour, with 10% going to DK, much higher than Labour or SNP, so one of the main reasons for the CON vote dropping is due to their Holyrood voters being DK at Westminster rather than going to another party. Obviously some small sub-samples being involved here but it shows why there is a difference between the two VIs!

  16. Ruth Davison net approval +15 (plurality in all X-breaks except SNP)
    Richard Leonard net approval -15 (even SLAB only give him a +18)

    NB Huge DKs for Leonard. 60% overall and a whopping 62% in SLAB VI! He hasn’t been in the job long but that seems like a very high number – you’d have thought he’d have wanted to make an impression on at least his own VI!

  17. Trevor,

    You do Scottish people a dis-service imo with your ‘English Football supporter’ aside.

    Implying Scottish voters have their own version of Tebbitts frankly racist Cricket Test is unfair.

  18. Good morning from a bright and sunny, though chilly, Bathgate. No further snow overnight, although more forecast for this afternoon and this evening.

    Interesting Scottish poll. The decline in SNP, after ten years in government, is to be expected as normal for any democratic country.

    However, this begs the question as to which party or combination of parties could replace the SNP as Scotland’s government.

    If the number of SNP MSPs drops by more than five at the next Holyrood elections I would think it least least possible that Nicola Sturgeon will declare that the SNP are going into opposition (at least, that’s what I would do, which isn’t the same thing, of course), leaving it up to Labour and the Tories to run Scotland between them – somehow! The resulting catastrophe would then propel the SNP into a winning position for Indyref 2.

    So long term these are excellent figures for the SNP.



  19. @ JIM JAM – The battle for the left vote has a high linkage to union v Indy view

    Ignoring WNV and DK, 75% of LAB VI are Unionists and 88% SNP VI are Nationalists (p5)

    Y’day we had some ‘English only’ discussion but clearly “national” identity is important to lots of people from Catalonians to Californians and English to Scottish.

    Leonard’s only memorable headlines have been his support of English football team and pro-Corbyn.

    Of course Sturgeon’s continual “threat” of IndyRef2 is damaging her own VI. “Not Yet” (lower parts of p5) show SNP 2017 voters are cautious about the IndyRef2 timing. SNP % adjusting for DK:
    After negotiations but before we leave: 73%
    After we leave: 80%
    No timeframe: 88%

    A pro-left comment coming next…

  20. @jimjam

    “You do Scottish people a dis-service imo with your ‘English Football supporter’ aside.”

    It’s also not very compatible with the very high DK score for Leonard.

    There is one thing which Leonard has done since becoming leader which has not had much publicity. Dugdale suspended the Labour councillors in Aberdeen who put the Tories in power in after the local elections. Leonard has reinstated them.

  21. S Thomas

    Yes, a very fair summary of the position

  22. Trevor,

    Don’t get me wrong I think Leonard has made an unimpressive start, not helped by Dugdale’s holiday, but supporting England at Football in my view won’t be a factor.

    If he said he supported Scotland over England that would have been seen rightly as insincere; or saying he supports anyone but Scotland would have been equally negative.

    Supporting Scotland unless they are playing England (or on occasions should their result affect England) is what I would do as an English person if I lived in Scotland.

  23. Pro-left comment!!! Look at the DKs!!!

    CON 17 (+2)
    LAB 15 (+4)
    LD 25 (uc)
    SNP 9 (+4)

    It would be fair to assume some “left” voters are somewhat torn over the timing and need for IndyRef2 but come a GE they’d make LAB/SNP tactical vote decision. One poll, etc but we’ve seen rise in DK in UK polls as well. Voters are unsure. In Scotland the timing and need for IndyRef2 is probably a factor in the high+rising DKs in LAB and SNP. SCON have similar DK issue and also note their modest flow to UKIP – possibly similar to UK this is concern of CON-Leave belief on May backsliding?

    SNP has ‘lost’ 9% of their VI to LAB with reverse flow of 4% from LAB. There are a lot marginal left seats. My models suggests LAB could gain 18 from SNP or lose 6 to SNP (24 seat range). That could well be the difference between a SNP C+S arrangement or an outright LAB majority. This poll suggests LAB would grab a few seats (5 on my model) from SNP but it is so tight on those seats and we’ve seen such wild swings in Scotland you’d be brave to commit to that.

    Blimey, gone 11am, better do some paid work!

  24. AW has given the independence figures Inc dk’s. The headline figures are more often quoted exc dk’s to make them comparable with the Indy Ref result and on that basis they are 57/43, with no significant change from the last YG poll and no great change from the Indy Ref result.

  25. John B

    “If the number of SNP MSPs drops by more than five at the next Holyrood elections I would think it least possible that Nicola Sturgeon will declare that the SNP are going into opposition”

    It’s certainly a tactic to be considered.

    According to Scotland Votes seat predictor, on these percentages the Holyrood seat tally would be –

    (Party, Constituency, List, Total)
    SNP : 52, 1, 53
    SCon : 14, 19, 33
    Slab : 3, 24, 27
    SGP : 0, 10, 10
    SLD : 4, 2, 6

    Even if a number of the FPTP seats changed hands, that would be roughly compensated for in the List tally, so overall numbers unlikely to change much.

    The election, of course, is over 3 years away and much VI can change in that time. Obvious factors are the Brexit settlement, changes to the devolution settlement, the next 3 Scottish budgets, and a looming Westminster GE a year later (probably?).

    However, on these figures, the only realistic possibilities are an SNP minority government which could and would be defeated on every single issue by the Unionist parties, or some kind of SCon/Slab coalition (probably with support from SLD).

    Quite what policy programme a SCab (a likely new acronym!) coalition could agree on – given the Westminster GE a year later is hard to envisage. Mind you, if they can happily work together in Aberdeen ……..

    The new power to set income tax bands and rates seems likely to play a large role. According to the Times, the YG poll also has a question on that to which 54% supported the SNP proposals, with “a third” against.

    If Slab can actually develop concrete proposals (which they said in yesterday’s debate they had not yet done – before voting for the defeated Tory amendment) then that might improve their VI, but make the prospect of coalition with the tax-cutting Tories more difficult.

  26. @AW “I can’t think of an obvious reason for this – it may just be last October people were answering in relation to Corbyn’s strong performance at the general election and that is now registering less in responses.”

    My feeling is that – just as it seemed prior to May calling the general election – Corbyn seems largely “invisible”.

    That could be simply a problem of the media not reporting on his activities enough but I would have thought that the Labour Party would be aware of that problem and do something positive about it.

    As things stand Corbyn reminds me slightly of Dracula – but instead of waking up when the sun goes down he is primed to react to the words:

    “Election is on it’s way Jeremy; time to get up.”

  27. @AW “I can’t think of an obvious reason for this – it may just be last October people were answering in relation to Corbyn’s strong performance at the general election and that is now registering less in responses.”

    My feeling is that – just as it seemed prior to May calling the general election – Corbyn seems largely “invisible”.

    That could be simply a problem of the media not reporting on his activities enough but I would have thought that the Labour Party would be aware of that problem and do something positive about it.

    As things stand Corbyn reminds me slightly of Dracula – but instead of waking up when the sun goes down he is primed to react to the words:

    “Election is on it’s way Jeremy; time to get up.”

  28. Opposition leaders always tend to have problems getting media coverage outside of an election period. There is very little that can be done to counter the indifference of the media to people who at the time have no power. The only time they tend to get coverage is when they have messed up.This is not a partly political point, it seems to be just a fact of life.
    Come the election interest in them picks up.

  29. @Alec

    In the words of the French Finance Minister on the City of London:

    The EU won’t cut itself off from the City in my opinion, it would be an act of economic vandalism visited upon themselves. Yes, some jobs will go as satellite offices are set up. Individual banks are talking about “100s” not “1000s and 10,000s” of jobs moving. I’d happily place a bet that the Asian banks setting up in London will more than make up for some satellite offices in Frankfurt or Dublin.

    @Danny “London has only two drivers for its existence. 1) historical inertia, and 2) being a centre for european operations.” and “I’d also suspect that London has already slipped hugely from its highest position as world financial centre?”

    Sorry, neither of these statements reflect reality in any shape or form.

    London is not just the centre for European financial operations, it is the centre for world financial operations.

    London has reached a state of preeminence in the world for several reasons – and these are just off the top of my head: 1) Language 2) Contracts In UK Common Law 3) UK Justice System 4) Timezone (Can work with N.America and Asia) 5) Infrastructure 6) Unrivaled Expertise 7) 110 Double Taxation Treaties 8) Light Touch Regulation

    It is bigger than any other financial center BY FAR. More money flows through London daily than all financial centers in North America put together!

    London is the undisputed leader in the largest, most liquid financial markets: be it foreign exchange, interest rate derivatives, insurance or bond markets. These are the financial drivers of the world’s economies.

  30. @Trevor Warne

    Glad you are doing some paid work Trevor cos, when you are, the rest of us feel like we have been given a paid bonus.


    Thanks for your response on the previous thread. I don’t necessarily disagree with any of your points. I would say that there have been clear negative effects from my point of view from being in the EU, ones that I hope we’ll now remedy. I do absolutely agree that many of our problems are problems that could be fixed whether in or out, certainly in the short to medium term of the current evolution of the EU


    @”London is not just the centre for European financial operations, it is the centre for world financial operations.”

    Absolutely right.

    London is not just the centre for European financial operations, it is the centre for world financial operations.

    Frankfurt no 11
    Paris no. 26

  33. @ OLDNAT – One thing I respect about Corbyn was that he was prepared to run as a minority govt daring other parties to vote him down. It is a shame May and Merkel lack the courage to do that!

    However, for Holyrood the SG boost almost offsets the SNP drop and very close to the 65 threshold. SNP pulling just a few % back from SLAB would continue the current arrangement, although with a little more power to SG.

    If SNP+SG fall below 65 then SCAB unionist pact are going to need to take some votes or also need LD. SCLAB would be on 66 seats using these numbers v SNP+SG at 63. I don’t see Ruth and Richard having much common ground other than blocking IndyRef2 and hence see little chance they would even start coalition talks let alone form a messy pact at a national level – especially with a highly divisive UK GE a year later!

    Being the largest party by a decent margin surely Sturgeon would have a go at minority and dare other parties to vote her down at which point a new election? Unionist pact would stop IndyRef2 but she might be able to lure a “left” pact on domestic issues or at least use SLAB’s refusal to assist as a bashing tool for the Westminster GE a year later? We see in Westminster enough LAB MPs abstain or vote with HMG to ensure Brexit legislation passes. Such a shame May went weak and now relies on expensive DUP votes instead of relying on the free LAB-Leave contingent.

    We see in German polls that FDP dropped after spitting the dummy on forming a govt. IMHO voters would respect someone trying to form a govt and punish those that play political point scoring games or totally cave in via weak coalition partner (e.g. SDP in Germany and LDEM in UK). SG improvement does suggest junior coalition partner is not always a bad thing but feels more like the exception that breaks the rule IMHO.

    My guess (this far out!):
    – Sturgeon tries minority govt (might need a new leader)
    – It stumbles on until 2022 GE and is useful to bash SLAB
    – It collapses soon after 2022 GE and new elections at that point
    – SNP formally accept timing not right for IndyRef2 and that gains them enough SLAB switchers without losing much core vote and they go on to win a new Holyrood with a slim working majority pact with SG

    The is stacking a lot of contingent scenarios and a long way off of course!!


    I didn’t see a tax question in the tabs but maybe it was asked and not included in AW link? If anyone sees it please post.

    For those looking for the Holyrood seat predictor model you can find one here:

  34. Running the numbers for Westminister vs the 2017 GE results in the following seats:

    SNP 28 (-7)
    Lab 14 (+7)
    Con 12 (-1)
    LD 5 (+1)

    Of course, given how close so many constituencie are, The next GE in SCotland will probably be a nail-biter.

    For the record here are the seat changes:

    Airdrie and Shotts – Change from SNP to Lab
    Dunfermline and West Fife – Change from SNP to Lab
    Glasgow East – Change from SNP to Lab
    Glasgow South West – Change from SNP to Lab
    Inverclyde – Change from SNP to Lab
    Lanark and Hamilton East – Change from SNP to Lab
    Motherwell and Wishaw – Change from SNP to Lab
    North East Fife – Change from SNP to LD
    Stirling – Change from Con to SNP

  35. @ SEA CHANGE / COLIN – another significant factor for Asians is the access to top quality English speaking education and educational establishment reputation for their kids (with lower drug, gun risk, etc versus US). Without stereotyping, Asian parents place their children’s education very high on the priority list and expanding on your language point the business language of the World is English not just for the current generation but for the next one.
    Other soft issues: theatres, shopping, restaurants, flights, etc. even climate!! (v Singapore or NY anyway, no major financial centres anywhere with a great climate!)

    In any close ‘business’ decision the human factor can make a significant difference. This is also why likes of Deutsche are finding it so hard to get anyone from London to move to Frankfurt – a redundancy cheque with a new job lined up with someone else in London is the ‘dream ticket’ to hold on to although at some point some folks will ‘Brightsize’ and jump from a sinking ship anyway;)

    The major risk for London’s Global status is increasing tax or regulations above a business ‘tipping point’. A small nudge in high rate personal tax wouldn’t be an issue (Dublin already have a very aggressive poaching tax scheme, SARP, so the difference is already material). However, a financial transaction tax would be a game changer as it ‘tips’ the business decision clearly in favour of NY, Singapore, etc.

  36. @TW – London vs Frankfurt / Finaincial Tax

    Not surprising so few want to move. Frankfurt doesn’t come close to Cosmopolitan London on almost any measure that matters to those who are relatively well-off.

    As to the calamity of a Tobin Tax. It’s why Corbyn mustn’t be given the keys to No.10, it would be a disaster for the City (and the tax revenue of the country). Anyway, he’s a busy man these days helping steer Brexit through Parliament ;)

  37. For several years the polls in Scotland have tended to overstate SNP support and I suspect that continues to be the case. In a real Westminster election I believe the SNP would struggle to hold 20 seats. Many would be lost to Labour in Glasgow & the Central Belt – with Labour likely climbing back to 25 – 30 seats and becoming the largest party there again.

  38. Trevor Warne

    As is common these days, poll results are strung out over several days.

    The income tax question is mentioned in a small article in the Scottish edition of the Times, so we’ll just have to wait for YG eventually to publish the tables once the Times’ tap has finished dripping!

  39. @ GRAHAM – it certainly wouldn’t take much to see SNP down to 20 and LAB biggest party in terms of Westminster seats. If you re-run electoral calculus with following %s (change versus this poll) you get following seat numbers (change v 2017):

    SCON 23% (uc) = 12 (-1)
    SLAB 31% (+3) = 22 (+15)
    SLIB 6% (uc) = 5 (+1)
    SNP 34% (-2) = 20 (-15)
    SG 3% (uc) = 0

    The changes as you suggest are in the central belt. SCON have quite a lead in the South and N.East with SLAB a distant 3rd in most of those – it would need a bigger left/right switch to change that. Green’s tactical vote and pulled/paper candidates has usually helped SNP though so caution on getting too excited!

    The tricky issue for SNP is IMHO the need to keep the goal of Independence on the agenda but downplay the timing. This seems like an unforced error from Sturgeon. If she focussed the Brexit argument much more on securing return of devolved powers to Holyrood (which CON and LAB are sadly unwilling to do) then the Independence card would be played indirectly with future timing inferred. She is giving her opponents plenty of ammo by keeping the “threat” of IndyRef2 on the table in the near future tense. That might play well to 80%ish of the faithful but not the marginal voter as the higher DKs and flow to SLAB show in this poll.

    Maybe she doesn’t care about the polls? 2021 is quite a long way off and she could be holding out for the “I told you so” strategy that LDEM for sure are hoping for. SNP’s seat gains/losses will come almost exclusively from LAB and with no elections in sight playing the “handmaiden’s of Brexit” card against Leonard/Corbyn in 2021/22 might be the better long-term strategy.

    Obviously due to the timing difference she could and IMHO should play both strategies – in the short-term focus on the hypocrisy of ‘taking back control’ of powers from Brussels to Westminster but then not devolving powers from Westminster to Holyrood and then going full attack on SLAB as “handmaiden’s of Brexit” after 29Mar19.

    SLAB should probably try and do something a bit more than picking up the left votes that Sturgeon throws away. ABT+ABSNP = SLAB is more likely to see low turnout than win lots of seats.

  40. @ OLDNAT – Much will depend on the wording on the poll question. If it is “do you approve of higher rate tax payers paying 1p more to fund public services” then that is not that interesting – of course the majority will support that, as they should!

    I’m assuming SLAB’s objections will be that it is not enough and they should hike taxes further. Adjusting for cost of living I don’t see a few p making much impact on companies moving (ie I disagree with SCON).

    It is difficult to guess what the ‘tipping point’ would be. IMF and others have moved past ne0liberalism to the idea that improving equality is important for economic as well as social reasons (but global average top rate of tax is 35%! – that was a dig at Trump not UK or Scotland). Inertia and a huge number of other factors will make any empirical findings dubious at best but blimey at least do 2-3p or something to see if it makes a difference and see off the more marginal voter threat of SLAB.

  41. @Sea Change – not quite sure why that link to the comments of the former Bank of France governor were directed to me? I don’t recall ever saying that Brexit would be a ‘catastrophy’ for the city?

    Nonetheless, the reporting of his comments by the DT is interesting. He gves rather an honest and understated vision of his expectations, which seem really rather sensible. He doesn’t seem to think that the world will fall in London as a global financial hub after Brexit, but if you read his comments carefully he actually says –

    ““Twenty years ago London was already the first financial centre and Paris was much more important. Many banks had concentrated their forces in London which had tens or sometimes hundreds of staff in Paris before. So if that goes back to where we were 20 years ago it is not a catastrophe for the City.”

    In other words, he thinks that perhaps we may go back to the reltive balance between London and Paris from two decades ago, when Paris was significantly more important in relative terms. That seems about right to me. There will be some significant shifting of business, but no meltdown.

    This seems to be the problem when discussing such matters. It tends to boil down to some remainers suggesting there will be a catastrophic meltdown, and when leavers find something to back their case that their won’t be a catastrophic meltdown they claim victory. The more nuanced scenarios seem to get lost amongst the cut and thrust of the big impact claims and counter claims.

    Consider this: In 2000, the London financial centre contributed around 5% of total UK GVA, and in 2016 it contributed 7.1%. I don’t know what this figure will be by 2020, but if you want to wind back 20 years, as Noyer thinks, that loss of 2%, and all the tax revenues that come with it, is going to hurt. It’s the equivalent of another medium size recession hitting the UK. Not a catastrophy, but pretty difficult for a country still in deficit and with large debts and a big backlog of underspending on public services.

    Indeed, I’m not sure this was your intention, but linking to that article helps to understand what the expectations are for Brexit, and all those losses of a couple of percent here and there add up to a painfull contraction if they do eventually come to pass.

  42. @Sea Change – “As to the calamity of a Tobin Tax. It’s why Corbyn mustn’t be given the keys to No.10, it would be a disaster for the City (and the tax revenue of the country).”

    Quite an interesting post. The idea that costs and barriers associated with trading with the biggest market in the world after Brexit won’t persuade bankers to leave London, but one tax change will. This seems a little contradictory?

    There is also another scenario. If a Tobin tax does end up raising large sums of money, I would imagine that cash strapped governments around the world might well look on and want a piece of what Corbyn’s having. Everyone loves the idea of a tax that the voters don’t pay.

    If that were to happen (which I suspect would be quite likely – it’s just like the dam bursting) then the relative impact on London might not be so great.

  43. trevor Warne,
    “Juncker was very clear.”
    He appears to have said,
    ““If the UK government sticks to its decision to leave, Brexit will become a reality, with all its negative consequences in March next year, unless there is a change of heart among our British friends,”

    Which does not sound like we have to leave at all.

    And separately quoted we have,
    ““Once the British have left under Article 50 there is still Article 49 which allows a return to membership and I would like that,” he told MEPs. “I would like us now to treat each other with respect and not abandon each other.””

    The BBC website does not quote all this verbatim as one speech, but their journalistic text also says that if we leave, we can then still rejoin using article 49. So, it seems to say we can stop the process. But if we dont, they would still welcome us back.

  44. @Danny – it’s clear to me that the message from Junkers and Tusk was that A50 could be withdrawn and they would welcome the UK to stay. I think nothing they said means anything more than that, and so this is pretty important signalling.

  45. Alec

    “Everyone loves a tax that voters don’t pay”

    I always understood that critics of a Tobin Tax point to the fact that banks would make fewer transactions which in turn could lead to job losses and that pensions would see less return on there investments and savers less return on saved money.
    I appreciate that some countries use a form of Tobin tax to raise money but it’s not true to say there is no impact on voters I know back in 1984 Sweden tried a form of Tobin tax which failed to raise the amount of money it was projected to in fact it had such a negative effect on there bond market which fell 85% they scrapped the idea.
    At the end of the day we can be assured the financial world will find a way to offset any additional tax imposed by government by simply passing it on to the customer either directly or indirectly.


    With respect to London versus Frankfurt/Paris/Geneva:

    I believe that you are all suffering from what I pointed out previously about our understanding of EU motives and approach. We believe that the EU is after our financial services lunch, when it is actually less complex issue.

    Uk bond issuance is very different to that of many of EZ countries. for example with respect to greek debt (stay with TREVOR). That which was issued in the UK can not suffer a haircut. the remain in perpetuity. it is why that bought bond in the EZ insisted on the newly issued bonds be issued to UK law rather than any EZ country. it means that the essentially it is UK law that is limiting debt relief for the Greeks which I find ironic given TREVOR WARNEs comments.

    It is why the EU to UK to ECJ to attempt to wrestle the bond issuance away frm London. The fact that the UK is a member of the EU means it cannot be treated differently as hence why it failed.

    I do not believe that EU is going to get much more than small portion of UK financial services with the UK leaving. but the Bond issue is important since the way that the Euro is set up is that there is lender of last resort you have to live within your means or within the belief that you can afford to pay back your debt in both short term. The US has the same rules and that is why even though Argentian basically defaulted it still has outstanding debt because US law does not recognise the default as it has similar bond rules to the UK. It is why vulture capitalist bought up Argentinian debt when they defaulted because they can wait it out and get their money with interest.

    My point is as always because we look at the EU with UK based europhile and eurosceptic eyes we miss the motivations and approach of the EU. it is why they never make sense to us because we just refuse to understand.

    So in conclusion will the London lose custom to the EU in financial services of course the passporting will not allow eruobonds without the same level of equivalence in bonds. Will the EU get much other business it depends on how people package their business. Will it matter in the grand scheme of things most probably not outside the EU’s needs

  47. @TURK

    there are several argument surrounding the Tobin Tax (it is also interestingly that there is already a tax SDRT for transactions over 0.5%)

    it is worth a read here

    But simply put is was originally design to reduce volatility and high frequency trading schemes such ping pong. In essence the financial market was supposed to follow the real world a little better the proposed rate was 0.01%. I am not sure it was going to kill anyone considering SDRT.

  48. Trevor Warne

    Naturally the question asked, matters – which is why I limited my original point to “The Times reporting ….”.

    As to SLab policy for the Scottish Budget – We’ll all be interested to see it when it appears, though it might have been useful if they had had it ready in time for the debate on the budget that they had called!

  49. As I am not versed at Scottish politics I suppose what I say can be taken with a pinch of salt but hey this is the internet

    So the first thing is that strikes me is how little the ripples of the SNPs change of direction have seemed to been really reported or discussed in the rUK. We are looking at a party in power raising taxes directly and without apology. I believe the SNP basically missed the anti austerity wave at the GE2017. it allowed the tories to talk no stop about Independence referendum and that meant that SNP suffered.

    The real interesting point is that the FPTP system makes 38-35% a cliff edge for the SNP they can end up with 40 seats or as little as 25 seats such is the state of the polls. this just does not seem to suit scottish politics in terms of representation in Westminster. (I say that as person that says the current Westminster system is outdated and very unfair especially to smaller parties.

    What I think is interesting is Ruth davidson seems to have established herself as distinct from May which is very interesting indeed although the scos Tories have not really used their clout in any way whatsoever I would have thought that they would have gone for something symbolic to show that they count and are distinct to that of English Tories. it does give less reason to vote for them at westminister and I think that givve both labour and SNP an opportunity to represent Scotland as it were.

    it is funny that we think of Scottish electorate as sophisticated and the by inference the English/Welsh as less so. Although I believe that devolution would mean hat the nature of the vote will create difference. The English and Welsh electorate in many ways are voting for all the marbles and the Scots are not.

    How does it look for the future? Well if I was labour I would look closely at the way that SNP sell their tax policy there may be a lesson to be learned. What is interesting is that brexit in the rUK has seemingly meant that there is less Scottish bashing in the telegraph (I have not seen a comment referring to Sturgeon as Wee Willy Cranky for sometime)

  50. I did find this funny (or I should rather ironic)

    Well it is not that cold and it is not raining here in bristol so my 12 mile ride home should not be too bad

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