Alan Sinclair of the Centre for Confidence and Wellbeing told the
the impact of the current recession will be felt in the economy over the next 30 years: "Instances where there has been a 90% debt overhang for more than 5 years, sits in place for 23 years".
Mr Sinclair called for more realistic economic modelling when looking at Scotland's ageing population and changing demography as the committee continued its inquiry into the issues on 19 September 2012.
He drew on a warning from economists about this economic downturn and said: "Normally a state debt is with its own inhabitants but this time it is international so you cannot increase tax to hit debtors, pensions and demography are against us at this moment in time, and other instances of debt overhang there has not been the same level of personal debt".
Professor Elspeth Graham, of the ESRC Centre for Population Change, estimated the number of over 75s in the Scottish population would increase from the current number of 0.4m over 75s rising to around 0.7m by 2035.
Prof Graham also noted how: "Scotland is very much affected by migration into Scotland and migration within Scotland" and lamented the lack of data collection on monitoring this.
Barbara Hurst of Audit Scotland acknowledged good planning was essential but noted: "the data to underpin modelling is not good enough", and there was a need to break out of silos in planning: "It is not just about looking at the social care budget in isolation from the health budget and the housing budget".
Colin Mair of the Improvement Service told MSPs: "We are running out of time for targeting things here".
Mr Mair said decisions had to be made on care delivery pilots, as there was good profiling work for the very long term until 2030 and 2060 but he was unclear how Scotland would get through the next five years.