Danny Alexander today announced the costs of setting up an independent Scotland. Unfortunately for The No Campaign, the academic on whose work the figure (£2.7 Billion) was based has condemned them for “badly misrepresenting” his data and said that it overestimated the cost by a factor of 12.
I watched Alexander’s press conference this morning and noted that at one point he claimed in answer to a question that while the Scottish government was playing up the assets of the UK which it would want a proportion of, in reality there would also be costs which would cancel these out meaning no real net difference. He then contradicted himself by making all these crazy claims about how we would be down billions on the deal. None of the hacks pulled him up on it.
Anyway – this from the Guardian (click on link for full article):
Patrick Dunleavy, a politics professor at the London School of Economics whose research was used to come up with the figure, said that it overestimated the cost by a factor of 12.
Posting on his Twitter account, Prof Dunleavy wrote: “UK Treasury press release on #Scotland costs of government badly misrepresents LSE research.”
He told the Financial Times: “The Treasury’s figures are bizarrely inaccurate. I don’t see why the Scottish government couldn’t do this for a very small amount of money.”
Research carried out by Prof Dunleavy in 2010 estimated that the cost of setting up a new Whitehall department was £15 million.
In coming up with its figure of £2.7 billion, the Treasury has simply multiplied Prof Dunleavy’s figure by 180 – the number of public bodies the Scottish government thinks it will need after independence.
Later, he tweeted: “Could they be this crude? Phone call from Treasury guy later confirms: Yes, they had been.”
Prof Dunleavy said that such a calculation involved three basic errors on the part of the Treasury – not all 180 bodies would be major departments, several already exist independently in Scotland, and that his figure represented the “chaotic” way Labour set up departments from scratch prior to 2010, not a more orderly transition.
He said that the Treasury overstated costs by around 12 times, estimating instead that the one-off set-up costs would be £150 to £200 million.