challenges Scots spending cuts forecasts
Arthur Midwinter, a visiting professor at Edinburgh University and a finance adviser to the Parliament's Labour group, said there were no hard numbers in the public domain to validate the forecasts.
claimed figures were based on 'questionable assumptions'.
'The reality is no decisions have been made and the projections in the Pre-Budget Report are not fixed funding envelopes.
Forecasts based on them are of little use to decision makers,' he
stated in his
submission to the independent panel, appointed by Scottish
ministers to present public spending options.
The panel's recently published consultation paper said that under any reasonable assumptions, Scotland's departmental expenditure limit was likely to fall by £3bn - 3.6% per year - between 2010/11 and 2013/14.
argued that the forecasts were based on 'questionable assumptions regarding spending projects in the PBR, which roll forward the current cost of services' and are 'neither plans nor allocations'.
adds: 'In my view, forecasts based on soft numbers in conditions of fiscal volatility and political uncertainty are at best "guesstimates", not analysis.
They do not provide a reliable basis for a review of the Scottish budget.'
said the projected figures were based on work last year by the Institute for Fiscal Studies
told Public Finance
: 'We now have more accurate figures following the UK budget.
On the basis of these figures, I would suggest that any cuts in Scotland would be closer to £1bn rather than £3bn.'
calculation was based on the information available now but he
acknowledged that 'the direction of change will depend on who wins the general election'.
challenged the Scottish Government's belief that it could take steps to 'grow' the economy.
said: 'My own view is that the Scottish Government has neither the fiscal tools nor the devolved responsibility to stimulate economic growth.