New Chief Executive joins Scottish Fiscal Commission

John Ireland this week takes over as Chief Executive of the Scottish Fiscal Commission (SFC). 

John was formerly a Director of the Fraser of Allander Institute at Strathclyde University and spent time early in his career both with HM Treasury and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.

He takes up the role at SFC from his post as a Deputy Director in the Energy and Climate Change Directorate of the Scottish Government. 

On April 1 the SFC assumed responsibility for producing independent forecasts of tax revenues, Scottish GDP and social security expenditure. Its work informs the Scottish Government’s budget process and enables Parliament to scrutinise and debate draft budgets before they are passed.

SFC chair Lady Susan Rice said: “Devolved taxes together with social security expenditure account for £18bn based on 2015-16 figures. SFC’s role in providing independent economic and fiscal forecasts based on Scottish Government’s proposed policies is fundamentally important to the work of the Scottish Parliament.

“I’m delighted we have someone of John’s calibre joining us. I know he will provide strong leadership and support our team’s dedication to excellence in forecasting.”  

John takes over from SFC’s interim chief executive Sean Neill.


Notes to Editor

1. The SFC was set up in 2014 to scrutinise the Scottish Government’s forecasts after a number of taxes were devolved from the UK to the Scottish Parliament. From 1 April 2017 the SFC began work on its own independent forecasts of taxes and social security payments now under Scotland’s control, together with Scotland’s on-shore GDP.

2. The number of devolved taxes has increased since 2014 when responsibility for those levied on Land and Buildings Transactions and landfill waste disposal passed from the UK Parliament to the Scottish Parliament, adding to its responsibility for non-domestic rates. Now the Scottish Government also controls of receipts from its residents’ Income Tax (apart from savings or dividend income) with Air Departure Tax and Aggregates Levy scheduled to come under its control. As well as forecasting the income from these taxes the Scottish Fiscal Commission will calculate Scotland’s onshore GDP and devolved Social Security expenditure.

3. The Commission consists of members, also known as Commissioners, who are appointed by Parliament. The staff comprises a team of around 20 civil servants  devoted to macro and fiscal analysis and forecasting, as well as calculating specific tax receipts.

4. Scottish Fiscal Commissioners include:
Lady Susan Rice CBE – chair
David Wilson
Professor Alasdair Smith

5. Full details of SFC’s remit and areas of responsibility can be found on our website.