Oil crisis: SNP under fire over forecasts refusal

SNP ministers say they have no plans to publish any new oil bulletins. Picture: TSPL

SNP ministers say they have no plans to publish any new oil bulletins. Picture: TSPL

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THE SCOTTISH Government has come under fire after appearing to rule out the publication of any fresh oil forecasts in the near future as the crisis continues to engulf the industry.

Opposition parties insist such forecasts were “regular” features of the independence referendum campaign.

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SNP ministers say they have no plans to publish any new oil bulletins since the price plummeted to about $50 a barrel - from a Summer high of more than $100 - amid concerns that thousands of Scottish jobs could be lost.

“Projections for future tax receipts will depend on what changes to the fiscal regime are made by the UK Treasury, and whether the UK Government improve their stewardship of the industry,” energy minister Fergus Ewing said today in response to a request from the Tories for more oil bulletins.

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Mr Ewing yesterday published a new report calling for urgent reform of the taxation regime for North Sea oil and gas and also setting out the Scottish Government’s work to support the sector.

The SNP had predicted Scotland could look forward to an oil price of $110 after independence - but separate figure released by the Coalition Government last week said the current crisis would have left Scotland with a financial black hole of £18.6 billion after a Yes vote.

Tory finance spokesman Gavin Brown said: “The Scottish Government has dithered for months in refusing to update oil forecasts.

“These were regularly published when the price was high before the referendum.

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“But for some reason, now the price has dropped to $50 a barrel, these publications have ceased.

“We have asked several times for an updated position, and as excuses go, this is the most feeble yet.

“It is crucial for both business and workers in Scotland that the Scottish Government regularly updates its projections on this crucial industry.”

There could be 15,750 job lost in Scotland as as result of the current crisis, according to research conducted by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe).

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