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Alex Salmond’s oil fund comes with £3.4 billion public spending price tag

October 2, 2013 5:31 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie SNP today said that theWillie RennieWillie Rennie SNP's plans for an oil savings fund could risk wiping out a proportion of public spending equal to a third of Scotland's health budget.

The nationalists Fiscal Commission Working Group recommended an independent Scotland could start to pay into an oil savings fund when national debt lowers. However a hidden footnote in the experts report explains that based on Scotland's public finances over the past decade, this scenario would require Scotland to run close to a budget balance. The most recent GERS figures show that the nationalists would have to cut £3.4 billion of spending in order to do this.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP has said that Alex Salmond's oil fund could come at a cost to public spending.

Commenting on the report, Mr Rennie said:

"Hidden on the footnotes of the experts report we learn that Alex Salmond's oil fund could wipe a £3.4 billion off of public spending. That's one third of the health budget for the whole of Scotland. People will be astonished that John Swinney is scheduling additional cuts to public spending within months of gaining independence.

"The nationalists own experts agree that Alex Salmond's oil fund could only be added to when the books are balanced. If they are to achieve it by their promised date of 2017-18, they would need to slash public spending by £3.4 billion. Robbing Peter to pay Paul is one thing, but this would be robbing the people of Scotland to pay for Alex Salmond's pet project.

"The nationalists have once again ignored the inconvenient findings of their expert group. Scratching beneath the surface it's clear that if the nationalists were to deliver Alex Salmond's oil fund in 2017-18, it would come with a £3.4 public spending price tag."