Following the release of the official figures on oil revenues forecast by the Scottish Government (your report, 26 June), it is worth reminding ourselves that less than year ago, voices of caution about relying on the volatility of oil revenues to finance the high spending in Scotland (relative to England) were dismissed by the Nationalists as “scaremongering”.
Indeed, counter-claims were made by the Yes campaign when they quoted the academic Sir Donald Mackay who said that Westminster was ignoring “a mountain of gold” – which was in complete contrast to the forecasts voiced by the respected oil sector veteran Sir Ian Wood.
So what does the unplanned £7.6 billion black hole mean with full fiscal autonomy?
It is not Scotland’s forecast deficit; the forecast deficit (2015) is actually £14.2 billion (8.6 per cent of GDP). The £7.6 billion would be the extra we would have to find to match the expected deficit level of the rest of the UK (4 per cent of GDP).
If one thinks the current “Westminster cuts” are scary, then the £7.6 billion would be additional to our share.
Given our economic plight, it beggars belief that the Scottish Government has the audacity to complain about cutbacks and demand even more borrowing by the UK.
Murtle Den Road
After the Scottish referendum last September, Prime Minister David Cameron stated that oil and gas from the North Sea would help the United Kingdom out of the recession. Now, all we hear is that the Scottish Government predictions were far short of their expectations.
Hundreds of billions of pounds over the past 40 years have been squandered relentlessly with little to show for it, while Norway has more than £540 billion of oil/gas proceeds in the bank.