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SNP Ministers playing with fire as further doubt cast over oil assertions

March 26, 2013 9:54 AM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Willie Rennie MSP has warnedWillie RennieWillie Rennie that SNP ministers are playing with fire as a report from the Centre for Public Policy for Regions recommended that the Scottish Government pursue a cautious forecast of oil revenues when planning the tax and spend ability of an independent Scotland.

CPPR also raised questions over how an oil fund would be achieved in light of the need to maintain an onshore budget balance. The report also noted "whatever the future, to suggest some sort of new oil tax revenue boom is about to emerge is not readily supported by the evidence."

Due to the volatility of oil prices, rising extraction costs and lower production levels CPPR supported the Scottish Government's own Fiscal Commission which recommended a cautious approach to oil forecasts.
Commenting, Mr Rennie said:

"This is a further report which backs up what SNP ministers have been saying in private but have shouted down in public. Alex Salmond and John Swinney are playing with fire by relying on the most optimistic oil forecasts to fund their independence spending promises.

"SNP ministers talk as if this is a game where all that's needed is a good poker face to secure a win. But they are gambling with the highest stakes - Scotland's future. If John Swinney's oil assertions are wrong, it would be our public services or our pockets which pay the price.

"Scotland benefits from being part of a partnership of nations sharing the risks and rewards in uncertain times. It is for SNP ministers to set out how they would bring stability to an independent Scotland's economy, where nearly a fifth of tax revenues would depend on a volatile resource."