Institute for Fiscal Studies reveals Scotland to have become more affluent than every other part of the UK bar the South-East of England and that much (most?) of this improvement has come under the SNP


The Institute for Fiscal Studies has just released a report which shows that Scotland is second only to South-East England, out of eleven regions surveyed, in terms of median income.

Figure 3.9 from the report shows the current level of inequality between the UK regions and countries, after housing costs are taken into account. You can see the dramatic effect housing costs have in incomes in Scotland, the South-East and London giving Scotland the second-highest median income in the UK.


Figure 3.10 below shows how Scotland has caught up and surpassed most of England since the 1970s. According to the report, most of this progress happened in the last two decades. We can safely assume that the greater autonomy in economic decision-making will have been the major factor in this post-devolution period. Though this cannot be proved based on the data presented, I suspect the greater competence and greater willingness of the SNP to divert from and to introduce more radical innovations than the UK government will have accelerated this in the last decade, under their rule.


Regardless of any explanation, this is good news. I appreciate that these data tell us nothing about inequality within the regions and countries though the Scottish Government building twice as many affordable homes per capita than in England will have helped.


3 thoughts on “Institute for Fiscal Studies reveals Scotland to have become more affluent than every other part of the UK bar the South-East of England and that much (most?) of this improvement has come under the SNP

  1. Clydebuilt August 21, 2017 / 7:24 pm

    Scotland doing well could be spun by the Yoons as a benefit of being in the Union. North of England and Wales are doing worse now relatively than in the 70’s

    Would be good if we can point to decisions taken by our devolved Parliament that have improved the economic welfare of people living in Scotland.

    Whilst it’s very good that Scotland’s lot is improving, the root of the problem is what do you attribute it to, without speculating.
    Has free tuition kicked in yet to affect these figures , I doubt it. Some of the graduates will be in jobs, most still learning the job.

    Removing rates for small businesses. That will certainly have helped. Swinney brought forward capital spending projects.
    No GM in Scotland, beef accredited free of BSE, more Social housing.

    So there are actions taken by the Current Scottish Government that will have boosted our economy.


  2. Contrary August 21, 2017 / 7:54 pm

    Apologies, to Clydebuilt first, for suggesting that he might be stubborn (elsewhere), and secondly for misremembering this as relating average earnings (elsewhere) – these are median income figures, and are quite dramatic when you see how much the London and south east figures must skew the overall figures. Interesting that housing costs affect incomes in the south east and south west the least.

    I agree with Clydebuilt, though, that without context we can’t see exactly why there has been an improvement for Scotland? Maybe I should have checked the link before commenting though!


    • Contrary August 21, 2017 / 9:16 pm

      After having a quick skim-read of the linked report, I am really impressed that you pulled out just about the only positive news out of it John! Income inequalities are forecast to increase over the next couple of years (one very very simple way to put a halt to that is, of course, for the dissolution of the Union, then we don’t have to compare ourselves to the Souf, and we can get on with bitching about Edinburgh – it seems be be gearing up as the financial capital of Scotland? I vote to have a roving parliament, one that moves every 6 years, which will be the fixed term,,, sorry, getting ahead of myself there), particularly due to benefits getting cut by the uk government, you remember, that unnecessary austerity agenda? They are right darlings, them. And because of inflation we are projected to have a stagnant standard of living.

      That makes Scotland’s relatively improved median income all the more remarkable, the country is hanging in there despite the odds – we certainly don’t have the huge financial markets that seems to be England’s only ‘success’ (depending on your measure), so it must be because of careful management of our economy by the SNP. If you look at the huge number of funding cuts by Westminster (except for some city deal money-matching and installing some of their own tax guys in Edinburgh), I just can’t see what they are contributing to our society – a dud nuclear ‘deterrent’? – by any stretch of the imagination.

      Liked by 1 person

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