Scottish independence: ‘Scotland doesn’t need oil’

Scotland has the financial muscle to go it alone, even without the lucrative profits from North Sea oil and gas, pro-independence campaigners have said.

Yes Scotland chief executive Blair Jenkins. Picture: Ian Rutherford

• Yes Scotland claim Scotland’s economic output would nearly match that of rest of UK without North Sea oil and gas income

• Chief executive Blair Jenkins talks up an independent Scotland’s financial capability as “misinformation” blasted

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The Yes Scotland group said economic output without fossil fuels would be almost exactly the same as in the UK as a whole, which was largely driven by London’s prosperous financial services sector.

It has launched a mini campaign to promote Scotland’s fiscal stability as part of its wider effort to convince Scots to vote Yes to independence in 2014.

Chief executive Blair Jenkins said: “An independent Scotland would be one of the wealthiest nations in the developed world, with the means to make it one of the fairest, too.

“Fairness – the focus of our last mini-campaign – and prosperity fit hand in hand. And an independent Scotland has the means to achieve both.”

He went on: “It is extraordinary how often some people question whether Scotland could afford to be independent, when the question should really be whether Scotland can afford not to be independent. The facts clearly show that, even without taking into account oil and gas, our economic output would still be at nearly exactly the same level as the whole of the UK – and that’s taking into account London’s financial services industry.”

Yes Scotland said much of what it called the “misinformation” about Scotland’s financial capability reflected “a deliberate attempt to scare people into voting No”.

It said Scotland had a quarter of Europe’s potential offshore wind and tidal energy, 10 per cent of its wave-power potential and £1.5 trillion worth of oil in the North Sea. Scotland would be the eighth wealthiest country in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), compared with the UK’s 17th place, it claimed.

Mr Jenkins said: “Scotland is punching well above its weight. The question we should be asking is not whether we can afford to be independent but why aren’t we doing better economically?

“Look at all the strengths we have in our economy – oil and gas, renewables, food and drink, tourism, engineering, life sciences, universities and much more. It all adds up to a prosperous nation. So why isn’t your family better off?

“An independent Scotland would be the eighth wealthiest of the OECD’s advanced economies in terms of GDP per head, compared with the UK in 17th position.

“Westminster isn’t working for Scotland. We have wealth enough. What counts is what we choose to with that wealth. That’s why Scotland’s future should be in Scotland’s hands.”