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SNP must apologise for ‘deceit’ on oil revenues

25 Nov 2015

The SNP government must apologise for deceiving voters prior to the independence referendum after the Office for Budget Responsibility revealed a further collapse of oil revenues today.

The independent OBR said that oil revenues this year are expected to amount to just £130million.

That compares to the Scottish Government’s pre-referendum white paper estimate of between £6.6 billion and £7.5 billion – on which the SNP based it claims about independence.

The SNP was warned at the time that its predictions were massively optimistic – but it refused to change them ahead of the referendum vote.

Last week, Alex Salmond’s policy chief Alex Bell acknowledged that the SNP’s case for independence was “broken”.

He also reported that officials had told SNP ministers prior to the referendum that a stable economy was “more possible within the Union than without”.

However, Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney have so far failed to acknowledge that their own plans for independence or full fiscal autonomy would now leave Scotland bankrupt.

Scottish Conservative finance spokesman Murdo Fraser said:

“These new oil figures only serve to demonstrate the shocking scale of the SNP’s deceit before the referendum.

“Time and time again we were told that oil would pay. Despite numerous warnings, the SNP’s white paper – overseen by Nicola Sturgeon – brushed all evidence aside in an attempt to deliberately hoodwink voters.

“Given these latest figures, Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney should show they are prepared to move on by apologising for what was a deliberate and conscious decision to deceive people.

“Everyone can now see that Scotland dodged a bullet last year.

“We now must focus on doing all we can to support exploration in the North Sea so that, if and when prices revive, it is well placed to capitalise.”

Notes to editors:
To see the Alex Bell article visit:
http://rattle.scot/snp-independence-is-dead-start-again-or-shut-up
“There is a paper somewhere in the civil service which sets out the idea of ‘independence in the UK’. Written by officials in 2012, and amounting to little more than a phrase and some bullet points, it tries to capture an idea of what Scotland could become. Few people saw the single sheet document and it’s probably long wiped from any computers by prudent officials.
“What the official paper was getting at is that the SNP’s case – UK levels of spending, no tax increases, relatively high government borrowing but a stable economy – was more possible within the Union than without. With declining oil revenues and a long period of low growth, that is more true now than in the last couple of decades.
“In the secretive world of the SNP, it’s impossible to know if Nicola has absorbed all of this. John Swinney, Finance Minster for eight years, never lets on he understands it, but if he doesn’t then he is unfit for the job. So we must assume these bright people know that the old model, once optimistic, is now dead.”
March 2013 SNP oil analysis
White paper oil numbers:
2015-16: £6.6bn – £7.5bn
2016-17 : £6.8-£7.9
2017-18: £7 – £8.5bn
OBR economic outlook
http://cdn.budgetresponsibility.independent.gov.uk/EFO_November__2015.pdf
UK oil and gas revenues Page 112
4.39 Our forecast for UK oil and gas revenues is just £130 million in 2015-16, down from
£2.2 billion in 2014-15 and receipts of just under £11 billion four years earlier. Receipts of
petroleum revenue tax (PRT) in the first seven months of 2015-16 were minus £222 million
UK oil and gas revenues
4.39 Our forecast for UK oil and gas revenues is just £130 million in 2015-16, down from
£2.2 billion in 2014-15 and receipts of just under £11 billion four years earlier. Receipts of
petroleum revenue tax (PRT) in the first seven months of 2015-16 were minus £222 million