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Fiscal Arrangements and Smith Commission

This paper  is a critique of the economic and fiscal arrangements recommended by the Smith Commission, which reported in November 2014, and of the proposals for implementing these recommendations set out in Cm8990 published in January 2015. This paper is of particular importance just now, when the new Conservative Government is putting forward its proposals and timetable for implementing the Smith recommendations: and when the SNP will be seeking to use its increased muscle at Westminster to modify the proposals to give Scotland greater powers. The debates about implementation and modification have to be informed by a proper understanding of the problems inherent in Smith, some of which are highly technical, but have profound consequences. What the present paper does is to provide a thorough analysis of the problems – as well as putting forward solutions.