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This week, especially because it’s the week of GERSmas, I am delighted to be joined online by Professor Richard Murphy. Richard is perhaps best known in Scotland for his work on the GERS figures, but he has a wealth of experience in tax policy. He is a chartered accountant and political economist who campaigns on issues of tax avoidance and tax evasion. He is currently a professor of International Political Economy at the University of London.
We discuss the GERS figures and how in Richard’s estimation, “GERS is CRAP – Completely Rubbish APproximations.” He explains how he first got interested in GERS because of his interest in the way that numbers can be used to construct a political narrative, and GERS is a perfect example of this. The GERS figures are designed to show that Scotland has a deficit, and were so designed for a political purpose. GERS compares income WITHIN Scotland to expenditure FOR Scotland. Or more precisely to expenditure which is arbitrarily assigned to Scotland. This is not comparing like with like.
Using a hypothetical example he explains: “If Scotland had a real deficit of 3%, and England had a real deficit of 3%, GERS would show that Scotland had a much larger deficit than England.” He tells us how GERS is little more than a method of shovelling England’s debt onto Scotland.
It all makes for fascinating listening, and for once we had no technical issues with the sound. However I am having issues with embedding the file on WordPress. Please click on the link in order to hear the podcast. I’m trying to solve the issue, but it appears to display correctly in editing, but then doesn’t show up once the page is published.
If you have issues with the embedded file, you can access the podcast directly by clicking on the following link : https://soundcloud.com/user-291670852/dugcast-27-08-2020-with-richard-murphy
Update : I think I’ve solved the embedding issue. However you can always access the podcast directly by clicking on the link.
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