Let’s hope John Swinney has his wits about him. This is the most important week for public finances since the Barnett Formula was introduced in 1978.

Iain Macwhirter

THE discovery of gravitational waves involved decades of effort by some of the greatest scientific minds using mathematics of breathtaking complexity. Perhaps now they have confirmed Einstein’s relativity hypothesis, they could turn their attention to another issue of mind-bending difficulty: the fiscal framework for income tax devolution.

I know: the debate about Scotland’s financial black hole is tedious and your mind is probably wandering to the top 10 plastic surgery disasters or celebrities who have aged badly. But bear with me, because this is probably the most important issue in Scotland right now.  If Scotland gets the wrong deal on the fiscal framework, we could be looking – according to economists like Professor Anton Muscatelli – at a £3 billion tax loss over the next decade – a lot of pennies. And unlike Labour’s penny for Scotland, which brings in £400m at best a year, this would be irreversible.


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