Universal basic income – a new idea whose time has passed

By Ray Perman, Director The news that two Scottish local authorities – Fife and Glasgow – are investigating the feasibility of introducing pilot schemes for a universal basic income has caught the zeitgeist. Prof. Adam Tomkins, the Conservative MSP, tweeted approvingly (although with a reservation about whether councils had the power to do this). Labour […]

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Scottish Budget: Austerity deferred, but not by much and not for long

By Ray Perman, Director You wonder why they continue to try to get away with it? Any UK Chancellor of the Exchequer delivering his budget speech should know that sleight of hand will be spotted by the Institute of Fiscal Studies before he sits down – and in Scotland we now have an equally vigilant […]

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Can a super-quango solve the puzzles of Scotland’s high skills and low productivity?

By Ray Perman, Director I joined the board of Scottish Enterprise in 2005 not long after Careers Scotland, itself the product of the amalgamation of numerous local careers bodies, was merged into SE. The public justification was that you could not properly encourage economic development without influence over skills, but the real reason was that […]

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Brexit case reaction: a worrying attack by the press on the rule of law

By Ray Perman, Director The most worrying aspect of the Brexit debate so far is the vicious attack on the rule of law by the tabloid press following the ruling by the High Court that parliament must vote before the Government can trigger Article 50, the process which will begin the UK’s exit from the […]

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Brexit: First Minister’s frustration at having a weak hand to play

By Ray Perman, Director It is easy to share the frustration of the First Minister after the meeting between the Prime Minister and the administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. She told BBC Scotland: “We discussed the UK’s negotiating position in general, but it is safe to say we got no more information or […]

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Brexit, Trump and the ‘deaths of despair’ – Sir Angus Deaton’s David Hume Lecture

By Jane-Frances Kelly How do we explain the high levels of support for Brexit in the UK and Donald Trump in the US? Economics Nobel Laureate Professor Sir Angus Deaton, offered a possible explanation in his David Hume lecture Prosperity and inequality: from the Enlightenment to BREXIT and Donald Trump. At the event, hosted by […]

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What does the Act of Union tell us about Brexit and the sovereignty of parliament?

By Ray Perman In less than two weeks a disparate group of citizens, including a Spanish hairdresser, a campaigning fund manager, a British ex-patriate living in France, residents of Gibraltar, Wales and London and some unidentified children will challenge the UK Government in the High Court over Brexit. Their intention is not to overturn the […]

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Soundbite-policymaking is no substitute for looking at the evidence

By Ray Perman For eight years from 2005-13 I chaired a policy committee for the Department of Business in London. Our role was to look at problems, examine the evidence and offer advice to ministers and officials. At the beginning we had a research budget and we usually started with a literature search – finding […]

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Brexit, not independence, is the shadow over the Scottish Parliament

By Ray Perman, Director The First Minister’s programme for government includes some weighty and resource consuming responsibilities which, had these been normal times, would have transformed Scotland. But it will be hard for ministers not to get distracted. A few weeks ago we might have thought that plans for a second independence referendum would have […]

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The Bank of England has acted, but it is not enough on its own

By Ray Perman, Director I have been taken to task by a follower of @DHIMusings on Twitter who thought my last blog post heralding the belated arrival of the silly season was “infra dig.” Perhaps I spoke too soon – the following week the Bank of England cut interest rates to a record low of […]

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