London professor & tax expert rejects “nonsense” data used against Scottish independence movement


Tax expert Richard Murphy rejects “nonsense” economic case against Scottish independence

ONE OF THE WORLD’S LEADING experts on tax affairs, Professor Richard Murphy, has slammed the abuse of financial data in the case against Scottish independence. 

Speaking out following Nicola Sturgeon’s call for a fresh independence vote, Murphy said there were massive holes in how financial information is used to criticise the economy in Scotland. 

Warning that the debate on the opportunities of independence were being screwed by “poor data”, Murphy – Professor of Practice in International Political Economy at City University – he said the debate would be left with “nonsense” unless the information was considered accurately. 

“Government of an independent Scotland will have a very different structure to that imposed now.” Professor Richard Murphy 

Writing for Tax Research UK, Murphy explained: “Scotland will have another independence referendum: the only question is when. I have little doubt that if I was Scottish I would vote Yes again. That, though, is not the reason for commenting now. What I want to discuss is the claim that Scotland has a weak economy. 

“This claim is based on four figures. The first is Scottish GDP. The second is Scottish tax revenues. The third is Scottish government spending. The last is the Scottish balance of payments (imports v exports). My contention is simple: all four may be seriously mis-stated, in which case to base debate on them would be a serious mistake.”

Murphy argued that the information in these areas in either made by broad estimations or suffers from a lack of evidence. He added that it was important to remember that “a government of an independent Scotland will have a very different structure to that imposed now”, and so the economic situation would be liable to fundamentally change with new data and full economic devolution. 

Read more – Top Oxford economist changes mind to back the financial benefits of Scottish independence

Following the article’s publication, he added: “Doing clever things to poor data leaves you with nonsense. You really do need to understand that.”

The professor’s intervention follows the message of economics Professor Simon Wren-Lewis of Oxford University, who said “that the case for Scottish independence is now much stronger than it was in 2014”. 

Picture courtesy of Financial Transparency Conference

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