Oxford criticism

Hunter report ‘poor and superficial’ says economist

Tony Mackay

Tony Mackay: ‘the analysis is misleading’

A Scottish economist has criticised the recent report commissioned by Sir Tom Hunter, claiming that it shows a “poor understanding of the current state of the Scottish economy.”

Tony Mackay says the Oxford Economics report “appears to have been a desk study” and questions the depth of discussions with “relevant” people.

“Consequently, the report lacks a good understanding of the current problems facing the Scottish economy, particularly the work of the Scottish Government and the main development agencies,” he says.

He also takes a swipe at the 27 business leaders who issued a letter supporting the report and questions whether they all actually read it. They included Andrew Wilson, chairman of the SNP’s Growth Commission.

Mr Mackay says it will be “very welcome if the report leads to a debate about the future of the economy and, more importantly, to sensible and effective changes in policies” but he says “some of the analysis is poor and misleading”.

He takes issue with the forecasts, saying: “I have reservations about the usefulness of producing long term forecasts to 2035 and the Oxford Economics’ explanation of those is superficial. I believe it would have been better to concentrate on a shorter term period.”

He says that explanations of the huge differences in productivity growth are “unconvincing” and that there is very little in the report on the ongoing diversification into more renewable energy in the North Sea.

Mr Mackay claims the Oxford report makes very few references to the work of the two main development agencies – Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise – who, he says, have blacklisted his Inverness-based Mackay Consultants for the last three years for being too critical of their performance.

“In my opinion, their contributions to the Scottish economy have declined significantly in recent years and that is one of the main reasons for the overall underperformance.

“The Oxford Economics’ analysis of the likely or possible implications of Brexit is very superficial and disappointing.”

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