Budget 2014: Fall in oil revenue underlines 'precarious' nature of an independent Scotland’s finances, says Chancellor
A steep drop in the expected tax receipts from North Sea oil and gas fields underlined the “precarious” nature of an independent Scotland’s finances, George Osborne said.
In his last Budget before September’s referendum, the Chancellor told MPs that revenues from oil and gas production were forecast to decline by almost 50 per cent in four years.
He pointed to revised projections from the Office for Budget Responsibility suggesting receipts will fall from £6.1bn in 2012-13 to £3.2bn in 2016-17, the first year in which Alex Salmond hopes Scotland will be independent.
Mr Osborne said: “The Scottish economy is doing well and jobs are being created, but this is a reminder of how precarious the budget of an independent Scotland would be.
“These further downgrades in the tax receipts would leave independent Scots with a shortfall of £1,000 per person - Britain is better together.”
The OBR calculations will be exploited by pro-Union campaigners as evidence of a “black hole” in the Scottish government’s economic plans. The Scottish Secretary, Alistair Carmichael, claimed that independence would be a gamble between a “place in a UK that is working well” and “go-it-alone option with no UK pound and falling oil revenues”.
But John Swinney, the Scottish Finance Secretary, pointed to a report last month which urged the exploitation of large reservoirs of untapped oil. He said: “Increased investment in the North Sea will lead to increased production with a further 24 billion barrels of oil still to come from the North Sea.”
Mr Swinney added: “This was Westminster's last chance to show it could create opportunity for Scotland and reject the diet of austerity. Once again Westminster has failed to deliver for Scotland.
“This Budget confirms a further squeeze on public spending and a further austerity plan.”
- 1 Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Pro-Russian rebel 'admits to shooting down plane'
- 3 Israel-Gaza conflict: The myth of Hamas’s human shields
- 5 Dutch paedophile club to fight their ban at the European Court of Human Rights
Lana Del Rey: 'I have slept with a lot of guys in the industry'
Peaches Geldof cause of death: 'Heroin addict' socialite had taken fatal dose of drug, inquest concludes
Peaches Geldof inquest: Tragic final moments of socialite's life reveal she lied to husband about failed heroin tests
Israel-Gaza conflict: The myth of Hamas’s human shields
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Was a Russian-made missile really parked in this quiet square?
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
£49000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...
£48000 - £54000 per annum + Benefits package: Progressive Recruitment: My clie...
£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...