THE GERS figures do not provide a conclusive projection of the prospects for future public finances were Scotland to become independent. As Fraser of Allander notes, GERS reflects “if an independent Scotland would bring about structural changes to the economy and society, the figures in GERS say little about the long-term finances of an independent Scotland.”

Were Scotland to become independent, its approach to public finances would change to accommodate a new set of powers and economic levers.

GERS generates tedious political point-scoring, with threats of austerity in an independent Scotland. First, if the last decade in the UK has taught us anything, it is that austerity is a political choice and that alternatives exist.

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Second, the narrow nature of this debate squeezes the space for generating fresh ideas around the future of Scotland’s economy. How could Scotland steward key sectors to allow a sustainable economy to flourish? How could Scotland’s tax system operate to redistribute wealth and alleviate climate breakdown? How could the labour market be restructured to work for people and communities?

These are the questions we should be focusing on.