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Oil claims show Alex Salmond will say anything to break Scotland away from the rest of the UK

July 23, 2013 2:09 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Commenting as the Scottish Government publishes its paper on oil and gas in an independent Scotland, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP said:

"It is stretching the wildest boundaries of any imagination to suggestWillie RennieWillie Rennie that the remaining value of oil will be worth £300,000 to every man, women, child. We know that Alex Salmond will say anything to break Scotland away from the rest of the UK, even if it means conveniently ignoring the most basic economic truths that corporate profits and government tax revenue are two very different things.

"Alex Salmond should withdraw this disingenuous claim and explain the facts of why he believes Scotland would be better managing a volatile, declining and finite resource without the strength of the broad UK tax base behind it.

"When predicting oil revenues it's sensible to be cautious because it is such an unpredictable resource. But the nationalists need to be reckless to make their sums add up. There is already a £23.9 billion black hole between the Nationalist's most optimistic figures and the OBR's more cautious estimate. That represents over two thirds of the current Scottish Government budget.

"If the nationalists don't want to use oil tax - which would represent a sixth of Scotland's tax take - to pay for public services they'd either have to cut services or increase taxes. That is the basic reality of their claims.

"Home Rule in a federal UK would give Scotland the best of both worlds with long-term certainty in decommissioning relief which is already helping to increase investment, and with more stable taxes transferred on a permanent basis to Scotland that would allow us to determine our own future on the domestic agenda."

Sir Robert Smith, Liberal Democrat MP for Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire and Interim Chair of the Energy Select Committee said:

"Oil is a volatile resource. As part of the UK economy Scotland has theSir Robert SmithSir Robert Smith advantage of public finances supported by a diversified economy where oil can play an important part. An independent Scotland, however, would be exposed to the swings and round-abouts of the global oil price."