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Fiscal Commission

09/12/2012

The Fiscal Commission Working Group will report to Ministers in the New Year, Finance Secretary John Swinney has confirmed.

The group, which consists of four eminent economists, is overseeing work to establish a fiscal and macro economic framework for Scotland.

The Fiscal Commission Working Group will draw on membership of the Council of Economic Advisers. Professors Andrew Hughes Hallett, Sir Jim Mirrlees, Frances Ruane and Joseph Stiglitz.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said:

"This important work by the Fiscal Commission proves the necessary preparations are taking place to ensure an independent Scotland is ready for the challenges ahead.

"Financial competence has been a key priority of the Scottish Government since 2007, and the work of the Fiscal Commission shows that we are now ready to embed that competence in the financial affairs of an independent Scotland. We look forward to receiving the Group’s recommendations in the new year."

Chair of the Fiscal Commission Crawford Beveridge said:

"Since February this year I have been involved in the establishment and the work of the Fiscal Commission Working group.

"The Council of Economic Advisers, the Fiscal Commission Working group is here to provide guidance, advice and offer a view on the ideas being put forward by the Scottish Government and the options it has to choose from.

"It is not our job to determine what path Scotland takes, but to provide our recommendations on how we believe issues around the economy would best be handled under independence.

"I see it as the role of the working group to offer an expert view on the ideas the Scottish Government and others have put forward.

"We have been making excellent progress in considering the options available to an independent Scotland and in helping to design a robust and attractive framework.

"Our concern has been with ensuring any system put in place is one that takes logical precautions against the problems of excessive indebtedness, poor fiscal controls and lax regulation that caused many of the problems the global economy now faces. At the same time we want to ensure in any future system Scotland learns from the best examples in areas such as efficient tax collection or fiscal responsibility.

"We are finalising our first set of recommendations, looking at the macro economic framework, for the Scottish Government and I expect we will publish that early in the New Year.

"We have also agreed to look at other issues in the run up to the referendum, around regulation, tax systems, the policy opportunities that there could be post independence, and the way in which Scotland could use the economic levers that independence would bring to the best possible advantage.

"Our recommendations will be objective and independent. Considering the range of individuals involved I hope people will be in no doubt that there has been interesting and challenging debate in our meetings and in our individual conversations over these last eight months. Our aim is to contribute to an informed debate about Scotland’s future."

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