David Simpson

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For the politician see David Simpson MP

Professor David Simpson was the founding director of the Fraser of Allander Institute a think tank based at the University of Strathclyde, where he was Professor of Economics. As well as being a Trustee of the David Hume Institute, and a former member of the Academic Advisory Council to the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA), Simpson was also at one time economic advisor to Standard Life. In 2001 he contributed to a Policy Institute paper 'Calling Scotland to Account'[1]. A long time supporter of independence, Professor Simpson believes independence will end the so-called dependency culture of government subsidy that he believes exists in Scotland. His contribution advocated greater Fiscal Autonomy based on greater fiscal responsibility, thus engendering greater economic efficiency. This suggests that Professor Simpson’s vision of independence is one based on limited government, competition and free-markets. The implications for Scottish Water in such a vision are clear; a ceding of control to the private sector.

David Simpson is now a member of the Water Industry Commission (WIC), the economic regulator for the Water Industry in Scotland. They have statutory powers to set the spending budgets that Scottish Water must adhere to. The Scottish Executive places great power and faith in the WIC, to shape the future of the Scottish Water industry. Given the background of David Simpson, being involved in organisations advocating neo-liberal economics, it would be reasonable to conclude that, for him, an appropriate outcome for Scottish Water would be its privatisation. The concern for the people of Scotland is that he has disproportionate power and influence to achieve just that. Incidentally, Simpson also was a member of the Academic Advisory Council to the Institute of Economic Affairs. Two of the most prominent members of the Institute of Economic Affairs, Colin Robinson and John Blundell have both recently advocated the full privatisation of Scottish Water.

Pro-nuclear and anti renewables

Simpson is pro-nuclear energy and against renewable wind energy. In 2004 he compiled a report on behalf of the David Hume Institute stating just that. Titled ‘Tilting at Widmills; The Economics of Wind Power’ the paper criticised wind power in terms of cost, reliability and aesthetics. It championed gas and, especially, nuclear power as the most cost effective and reliable future energy options. His position was summarised by the following quote 'For the David Hume Institute, an Edinburgh-based fan of the free market, there is no real choice. Wind farms are expensive, unreliable and will wreck the countryside, it says, and nuclear reactors are a better way of reducing the pollution causing climate change'[2]


Simpson's publications

David Simpson:"The end of macroeconomics", IEA, Hobart paper 126,1994.


Samuel Brittan What is really wrong with today’s economics? Financial Times 21/12/00

  1. Calling Scotland to Account http://www.policyinstitute.info/ResPub.php
  2. Edwards, Rob, ‘Think tank dismisses wind farms as 'expensive, unreliable polluters' ;Leading economist tells government atomic energy is best policy’ Sunday Herald April 18, 2004 Pg. 11http://www.sundayherald.com/41335.
  3. [1]
  4. China APPG, www.parliament.uk', accessed 23 November 2015