David Cobham's picture
Affiliation: 
Heriot Watt University
Credentials: 
Professor of economics

Voting history

Devolving Income Tax Powers within the UK

Question 2: Do you agree that that there is a clear economic case for establishing "English votes for English laws" with the same tax and spending powers as the Scottish Parliament?

Answer:
Strongly Disagree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
The argument is disingenuous, to say the least. An ordinary federation is not possible when one party (England) constitutes 84% of the whole and will therefore inevitably dominate if it is allowed to make decisions which appear to be about itself only but inevitably have large repercussions (particularly in the presence of the Barnett formula) for the other parties. Change in this area also needs to ensure that there continues to be viable government at both English and UK levels. Politicians should not play dirty short-term politics with the UK constitution, which does indeed need serious revision, but this should be carried out with care and reflection, and with consensus.

Question 1: Do you agree that the economic benefits of devolving full income tax powers to the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly outweigh the possible costs?

Answer:
Strongly Disagree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
The economic benefits of such a move would rapidly be overtaken by political costs which will then entail significant economic costs. I would favour devolution of only part of income tax, plus a part of VAT proceeds. It is important to retain cross-UK arrangements which express the solidarity between the different parts of the Union and embody the risk-sharing that justifies the existence of the Union, as Gordon Brown has argued.

Secular Stagnation

Question 2: Do you think that current structural and fiscal policies should place a considerably greater emphasis on pushing the natural rate into positive territory?

Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Confident

Question 1: Do you agree- making your own definition of secular stagnation clear if you disagree with that offered here- that it is more likely than not that the advanced Western economies have entered into a period of secular stagnation?

Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Not confident

Migration and the UK economy August 2014

Question 1: Do you agree that migration to the UK can be expected to be beneficial for the average income of current UK inhabitants in the upcoming decade?

Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Not confident
Comment:
Any effect on average incomes will be very small.

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