back to article One year to go: Can Scotland really declare gov IT independence?

In one year’s time, the people of Scotland will vote on whether to leave the United Kingdom. They will vote yes or no for numerous reasons … and the viability of Scotland’s government IT is not likely to be one of the most prominent. But the problems a newly-independent Scotland would have extracting its state-sector tech from …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Anonymous Coward

Data Centres?

And where will all the new data centres to put all these new IT systems (and of course govt. IT projects never fail to deliver) be?

My understanding is that there simply isn't much decent and secure private data centre space in Scotland currently. Govt. would no doubt prefer it's own data centres but then you are talking massive expense and lead times in building let alone the problem of having sufficient infrastructure and power available.

No doubt rUK will be quite happy to continue to host all the data for a while, but perhaps at £10 per record per month. Nice money spinner maybe.

There's always the cloud I suppose. :-)

And to my mind if 40% of central government employed staff are working on rUK stuff then they either have to be offered relocation to rUK or made redundant. Scotland's proportion of government employees whether central or local government is already far too high.

Bye bye Centre1.

2
7
Silver badge
FAIL

Re: Data Centres?

It's the power that will be the killer. AFAIAA "Scotland" is wedded to the idea of subsidised (by the English) renewables. Presumably they're hoping that 2/2 will become a new paradigm in international business ?

3
9
Anonymous Coward

Re: Data Centres?

Wrong, look to the east coast my son!

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Referendum

The Scots get one

The Irish get one

The Welsh get one

If the English were to get one......

We'd get rid of the lot of you!

3
3

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: They don't want independance

They just want the English to keep sending money North

I'll happily continue to do that as long as I get whisky in exchange :)

11
4

Re: They don't want independance

It's generally accepted that Scotland raises more taxes than its share of government spending.

You're thinking of Borisstan.

15
6
Silver badge

Re: They don't want independance

Generally accepted by SNP supporters perhaps...

14
4

Re: They don't want independance

And what happens when you need to fund things like an IT infrastructure and military to name but 2.

1
3
Anonymous Coward

Re: They don't want independance

No. Scotland takes more than it gives.

"In 2004-05, total expenditure for Scotland is estimated at £47.7 billion, or 9.7 per cent of

the UK total. For reference, Scotland’s population share in 2004 was 8.5 per cent and its

share of UK Gross Value Added (GVA, or GDP at basic prices) was 8.2 per cent."

"In 2004-05, total receipts (excluding North Sea revenues) in Scotland are estimated at

£36.4 billion, equivalent to 8.1 per cent of total UK receipts (excluding North Sea

revenues)."

Ref: Government Expenditure & Revenue in Scotland 2004-2005

3
8
Silver badge

Re: They don't want independance

I see, and what percentage of national expenditure that isnt directly linked to scotland - defence and the like, is included in that figure?

4
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: They don't want independance

> And what happens when you need to fund things like an IT infrastructure and military to name but 2.

I suppose we could ask Slovenia, Macedonia, BiH, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Montenegro, or any of the other countries elsewhere in the world that have achieved independence in the last 20-odd years. Note that they have all become viable States so far, some of them being respected players in the IT and/or military fields.

Or we could just wait a bit longer and ask the Catalans, maybe.

I don't think anybody has said State building is an easy process, so what?

7
0

Re: They don't want independance

Why downvote AC? At least he gives sources unlike S4qFBxkFFg.

This: http://fullfact.org/factchecks/public_spending_welfare_scotland_eu_uk-28892 and

http://fullfact.org/factchecks/will_an_independent_scotland_be_better_off-28889

give you both sides of the argument.

In summary it depends how you count the North Sea oil revenue. The odds of Salmond getting to keep the 90% of it he claims in any negotiated settlement seem small to me so it'll probably work out about equal.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: They don't want independance

Actually 90% is only the figure after Blair decided to take 6000 Square Miles of Sea and attach it to England, as opposed to the Internationally legal way of doing things. The figure is higher

However the No position seems to be "Do it and we'll punish you" hence the threat to bomb our airports etc

3
0

Re: They don't want independance

Why downvote? Perhaps because he used figures that are almost a decade old, when much more recent ones are available:

Government Expenditure & Revenue Scotland 2011-12

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

ISBN: 9781782564171

Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) is a National Statistics publication. It estimates the contribution of revenue raised in Scotland toward the goods and services provided for the benefit of Scotland. The estimates in this publication are consistent with the UK Public Sector Finances published in February 2013.

Executive Summary

The aim of GERS is to enhance public understanding of fiscal issues in Scotland. It estimates the contribution of revenue raised in Scotland towards the goods and services provided for the benefit of Scotland. The estimates in this publication are consistent with the UK Public Sector Finance Statistics for January 2013, published in February 2013.

The key results for 2011-12 are as follows:

In 2011-12, total Scottish non-North Sea public sector revenue was estimated at £46.3 billion, (8.2% of total UK non-North Sea revenue). Including a per capita share of North Sea revenue, total Scottish public sector revenue was estimated at £47.2 billion (8.2% of UK total public sector revenue). When an illustrative geographical share of North Sea revenue is included, total Scottish public sector revenue was estimated at £56.9 billion (9.9% of UK total public sector revenue).

In 2011-12, total public sector expenditure for the benefit of Scotland by the UK Government, Scottish Government and all other parts of the public sector, plus a per capita share of UK debt interest payments, was £64.5 billion. This is equivalent to 9.3% of total UK public sector expenditure.

In 2011-12, the estimated current budget balance for the public sector in Scotland was a deficit of £14.0 billion (11.2% of GDP) excluding North Sea revenue, a deficit of £13.0 billion (10.2% of GDP) including a per capita share of North Sea revenue or a deficit of £3.4 billion (2.3% of GDP) including an illustrative geographical share of North Sea revenue.

In 2011-12, the UK as a whole ran a current budget deficit, including 100 per cent of North Sea revenue, of £92.3 billion (6.0% of GDP).

In 2011-12, Scotland’s estimated net fiscal balance was a deficit of £18.2 billion (14.6% of GDP) when excluding North Sea revenue, a deficit of £17.2 billion (13.5% of GDP) when including a per capita share of North Sea revenue or a deficit of £7.6 billion (5.0% of GDP) when a geographical share of North Sea revenue is included.

In 2011-12, the equivalent UK position including 100 per cent of North Sea revenue, referred to in the UK Public Sector Accounts as ‘net borrowing’, was a deficit of £121.0 billion (or 7.9% of GDP).

3
0
Silver badge

Re: They don't want independance

"... it depends how you count the North Sea oil revenue."

This is a vital point. However, possibly worth more over time is whether, when, and under what restrictions Scotland can become a member of the EU. The subsidies to paid to small, largely agricultural country will be significant. However, it might be cheaper to stay out, not get embroiled with the Euro whilst avoiding extra level of EU-facing bureaucracy dealing with ever-changing EU standards. Become a member of the Council of Europe to ensure Human Rights protection, by all means, but think very hard about the EU.

In fact, that should probably be a second question on the referendum paper ...

2
1
Bronze badge

Re: They don't want independance

Most likely Scotland will be permitted to enter the EU, as they've already fulfilled the criteria (since the UK already has) and nobody wants to deal with a country where the entire population has the right to all the benefits of EU membership (since there's no way to remove EU citizenship) while not having to contribute. What the timetable will be is another matter though, since there's a lot of political wrangling involved in gaining membership

Also I'm pretty sure EU membership is supported by the majority in Scotland. It's actually one of the points raised by the independence movement, that if England has a referendum on EU membership we could end up dragged out of the EU regardless of what we want (since Scotland doesn't have a sufficient population to make much of an impact on these things)

1
1
Silver badge

Well, if the Scots Gov can get this IT right

Then we can outsource the remaining UK-lite IT to them.

11
0
Silver badge

Re: Well, if the Scots Gov can get this IT right

I like your thinking, Scotland's going to need some new industries when the oil runs out. But it's a very big IF

Just google the #OmniTrambles that is Edinburgh Trams (although it was Edinburgh Council and not Scottish Government)

0
1
Silver badge

Re: Well, if the Scots Gov can get this IT right

In the interests of fair and balanced discussion, you should also google the #omnishambles that was the Cambridge Misguided Busway.

3
1

Sigint capability

What makes you think the Scots would need to be able to intercept undersea cables to monitor terrorists? Independence would allow a break from the Westminster-driven foreign policy that has caused so many nutters to see the UK as a target...

15
4
Silver badge

Re: Sigint capability

You are forgetting the likelihood that our puritanical overloards would be quite interested in spying on our activities. Look at how they enacted pr0n+ laws that tried, and in cases, succeeded in going beyond the stupid UK-wide changes that made drawing a dick on Bart Simpson a potential jail-and-sex-register crime.

3
2

Re: Sigint capability

Yep, the Scots live in total harmony with the world and each other, especially the ones in Glasgow that wear those striking green and white hooped tops and their dark blue friends, those guys can’t get enough of each other, and with their little cousin only a short ferry trip over the Irish sea I don’t see why Scotland will have to worry about terrorism or sectarian violence ever again.

5
2
Anonymous Coward

If I were the councils of Carslile or Newcastle

I'd be putting the signs up by the A74/M74 and the A1/A68 welcoming the business that will most certainly flee from the new Scottish Socialist Republic that the SNP want to create north of the border.

13
17

Re: If I were the councils of Carslile or Newcastle

1. - It's "Carlisle".

2. - If independence happens, the SNP will rather quickly lose the ability to be a dominant (if not single) issue party. Left-wing nationalists aren't the only type so realistically, you're probably looking at some sort of break-up in the medium term. (Especially as the pro-independence Labour/Tory supporters revert back to type once independence is "safe".) "Socialist" is a pretty lazy designation for the SNP in any case.

7
0
Silver badge

Re: If I were the councils of Carslile or Newcastle

If you actually bothered to investigate the SNP manifesto, reductions in Corporation Tax are one of the major components to attract business to Scotland. So far from Newcastle and Carslile(sic) being open for business it'll be Hawick and Dumfries.

Unless of course like so many in the UK you're utterly disgusted by the recent scandal of major corporations who head quarter in tax friendly states to reduce their liabilities...

4
1
Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: Velv Re: If I were the councils of Carslile or Newcastle

"....reductions in Corporation Tax are one of the major components to attract business to Scotland....." Apart from the massive difference between "in the manifesto" and "in practice", you failed to see that Scotland will be on its knees crawling to get into Europe - as a seperate state it will need to be in Brussels' good books to stay in or have to re-apply. That means the Scots will have to roll over and implement every little crazy tax scheme and every other economic disaster/policy the EU comes up with, including the Euro and the new tax on trading. Businesses that can will be heading south of the border in droves. The good news is that being another one of Brussels' PIIGs / Germany's bitches is that you will get EU some funding, which might replace a fraction of what the Scots will lose from the UK, but you'll have zero capability to dictate terms in the EU because you'll be just another PIIG. Enjoy!

3
8
Silver badge

Re: Velv If I were the councils of Carslile or Newcastle

It is PIIGS, not PIIGs. Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Spain; and it will become the PIIGSS when Scotland joins them.

0
3
Anonymous Coward

Re: Velv If I were the councils of Carslile or Newcastle

or GIPSIS

3
1
Silver badge
Coat

Re: If I were the councils of Carslile or Newcastle

The A68 already has the vestiges of a decent wall running along side it.

It wouldn't take too much to reconstruct.

The "Irn (Bru) curtain" perhaps?

1
1
Anonymous Coward

@ "jonathanb"

Interesting you should pick someone up on a capitalisation issue, you seem to have the same problem when trying to write your own name.

0
0
Gold badge
Happy

Shirley that's the "Polis, Fire and Ambulance services." :)

And what a fine piece of "nuanced" commentary from the AC at 12:28

"That mong Salmond doesn't have the first idea about running a country, he'd probably wet himself if independence was granted."

Just a thought but any chance of the DWP studying how their Scottish centres do this amazing feat?

2
1
Anonymous Coward

A downside?

"DWP offices in Scotland...spend more than 40 per cent of their time processing English claims"

So post-separation, there could be a 40% redundancies in those centres if all that English-related workload moves south of the border?

6
1

Re: A downside?

"So post-separation, there could be a 40% redundancies in those centres if all that English-related workload moves south of the border?"

And a corresponding shortfall in staff in an already overworked service down South.

2
0
Bronze badge

Re: A downside?

Would probably need to be less than 40% as there would presumably be a jump in unemployment resulting from the redundancies.

1
0
Silver badge
Happy

Re: John 110 Re: A downside?

Upvoted for pointing out the employment opportunities for the rUK in letting Scotland go. Of course, the jobs only went up north in the first place as a political sop, and I'm sure the Whitehall Civil Service will love to have more rUK staff in their fiefdoms. Maybe this time round Clegg and co will insist giving the jobs to the South West where their voter base is. If Labour ever manage to get themselves electable again they'll want to send the jobs to Wales, probably.

3
4

Re: A downside?

"DWP offices in Scotland...spend more than 40 per cent of their time processing English claims"

Is that not due to one of the largest DWP call centres being located in Glasgow? Its a nationwide system, the one in Bristol gets callers from Scotland and Wales.

2
0
ql
Bronze badge

Nothing magical about next year

It's only the referendum that will be held next year. In the event of a Yes vote, the negotiations on how Scotland will implement its withdrawal from the UK will begin, and its likely, according to the pro-independence groups, that the first priority will be discussions on a constitution. What is unlikely is that rUK will claim the ball is theirs and immediately stop Scottish access to current UK systems, so there will be time for an orderly transition.

Regarding replicating GCHQ, I spoke to my MSP about this, mainly concerned about the excesses we now know the unmanaged GCHQ indulges in, and his response was that we would need such functions in keeping with Scotland's requirements,. with the implication that Scotland was not that interested in starting wars around the world and may not need the same levels of paranoia. Interesting that this article somehow accepts a "need" for GCHQ to act in the way we now know it does and assumes this is for teh best...

Re the anonymous comment above about data centre space, in my experience (a few years out of date) I do not believe any shortage to be true; in fact, just a little while ago, there was quite a severe excess in capacity and it was a buyers' market, but in the context of government spending that's unlikely to be an issue.

The article raises an interesting aspect of the independence debate, but the political and social landscape in Scotland is increasingly differentiated in comparison with the rest of the UK, and it is inevitable that many things would be managed differently in the aftermath of a yes vote.

20
0
Silver badge
Happy

Re: ql Re: Nothing magical about next year

"....Regarding replicating GCHQ...." Don't be silly, you will have to sign some form of defence co-operation treaty with the UK as part of the seccession agreement, even if you leave NATO. That means you will be shafted with some lovely little clause where we can carry on monitoring you from Cheltenham. Even if you manage to dodge the treaty clause, your telecoms all go via the UK so we can monitor you until you manage to build your own network and run your own international cables or satellite links. At whcih point MI6 will probably bug all your new systems and cables anyway. It's a bit like when your kids grow up and want a bit of privacy as teenagers, so you put a lock on their door but make sure you keep a spare key.

"....about data centre space...." There should be plenty of data center space in Aberdeen now that the oil is running out and the oil companies will be leaving. All Salmond has to do is keep quibbling for a decade or so and he can have lots of vacant data centers to play with.

1
7
Bronze badge

Re: Nothing magical about next year

It's important to realise that GCHQ didn't create itself. There's a genuine political and economic story behind how it came to be and how it grew so powerful, and Scottish interests are a large part of that story. Remember, it wasn't until Scotland was tied to England that the Empire got underway, and the whole show was largely driven by Scottish business ambitions.

So to imagine that an independent Scotland would have no, or even reduced, need to interest itself in the affairs of other countries, including the secret intelligence thereof - is just fantasy.

1
1

Re: ql Nothing magical about next year

Oil companies are all leaving?

You realise that the industry body Oil & Gas UK project 13.5 billion in North Sea oil investment in 2013, an all-time record?

They also predict oil extraction to continue until at least 2050.

Doesn't sound like folk are bringing down the shutters quite yet.

5
1
Silver badge
Coat

As an IT Consultant in Edinburgh, Scottish Independence is my Pension Plan.

Retire by 55.

Move somewhere sunny.

I'm not actually in favour of it, but got to look for the positive side. (and most of the people I speak to are against Independence)

Coat icon - mines the one with the Government backed funding.

4
4

Hydopowered data centres

Given that the cheapest electricity comes from Scottish hydropower, it makes sense to put more data centres in Scotland, and export less electricity to England.

8
1
Silver badge

Re: Hydopowered data centres

And also, saying as it is bl**dy freezing up there most of the time, you don't need to spend so much money on cooling.

2
0

I don't really care whether Scotland gets independence or not. My concern is that if they go 'independent', independence should mean total independence - no money from England at all except for things we actually buy from them. No bailouts, no handouts, nothing.

11
8
Bronze badge

Tick, v good

"independence should mean total independence"

Absolutely 100% correct. While they still rely on us for stuff like the Civil Service and the Bank of England, it's not independence at all, just sporran waving. And, Alex will always have someone to blame for the cock up they'll make of it. If they decide they want out, fine by me, but it should be a complete and utter separation. Rebuild the wall.

7
8
Bronze badge

Re: Sporran waving

> Rebuild the wall.

If it keeps the likes of you out of Scotland I'll reluctantly agree to it.

22
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Tick, v good

In the interest of fairness, the rest of the UK should also be voting to decide if they wish to continue being saddled with, and heavily subsidising the Scots.

Barnett formula?

6
5
Gold badge
Happy

"I don't really care whether Scotland gets independence or not. My concern is that if they go 'independent', independence should mean total independence - no money from England at all except for things we actually buy from them. No bailouts, no handouts, nothing."

A fine and noble sentiment.

So you're OK with the next generation British Nuclear Deterrent sitting a whole lot closer to your front door then?

Of course there may also be a few "Re-location expenses" involved as well. But what price good defense and a seat on the UN Security Council, eh?

Excellent

3
2
Anonymous Coward

Re: Tick, v good

The Barnwtt formula only goes to money spent, not calculated on tax raised.

at present Scotland gets £1200 more per head than UK average.

It pays into the Exchequer £1700 per head.

And that is by Treasury fiddled figures where money spent on , eg, the Crossrail Project includes mobey spent on behalf of Scotland

3
1

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums