Scotland's Data Desert: The case for a Scottish Statistics Agency (2018)


The ongoing discussions about Scotland's constitutional circumstances have highlighted significant shortcomings in the availability and quality of data regarding the measuring of many aspects of Scotland's economy, the demographics of its citizens and residents, data regarding its balance of trade with the rest of the UK and with the rest of the world. Whilst a case can be made that the running of the UK as a unitary state precludes the need for many such data, particularly that regarding Scotland's trade with the rest of the UK, the fact that Scotland now has substantial and growing devolved powers and the fact that such data is vital to discussion about the future of Scotland requires the creation of robust statistics. This paper shall outline several areas in which statistical data fails to meet required needs and shall make the case for the creation of a dedicated Scottish Statistics Agency tasked with finding solutions to this problem.