Research and analysis

Unfunded commitments in 'Scotland’s Future'

This note focuses on the policy proposals the current Scottish government sets out in 'Scotland's Future', but which aren't provided with an explanation of how they would be funded.



This note focuses on the additional policy proposals the current Scottish government sets out in Scotland’s Future as early priorities for the government of an independent Scotland, but does not provide costs nor explain how they would be funded.

Based on the information provided in Scotland’s Future, costs have been estimated for three of these proposals:

  • provision of 1,140 hours per year of childcare to all children from one year old to school age (phased in during the first two Parliaments of an independent Scotland)
  • cut Air Passenger Duty (APD) by 50%
  • cut corporation tax by up to three percentage points

To fund just these three policies, the future government of an independent Scotland would need to find in the region of £1.0 billion (in 2011 to 2012 prices) of additional annual tax revenue or spending cuts by the end of the first Parliament.

By the end of the second Parliament, which would start in the early 2020s, the annual cost of these policies (again in 2011 to 2012 prices) would increase to around £1.6 billion. To put this into context, this is similar to the amount currently spent annually on Scotland’s entire police and fire services, or total annual expenditure by Scotland’s Further and Higher Education Funding Council.

Published 18 December 2013