London (dpa) – Plunging oil and gas revenues would have spoiled the financial outlook of an independent Scotland, news reports said Monday.
If Scots had voted for independence in September’s referendum they would be facing revenues just 20 per cent of the figure the Scottish National Party (SNP) predicted for 2016-17, the Financial Times said.
Quoting figures from the Office for Budget Responsibility, the independent assessor of British government finances, the new nation would be facing a budget deficit nearly three times higher than that of the residual United Kingdom.
The paper said Scotland “would now be looking at oil revenues of 1.25 billion pounds (1.9 billion US dollars) instead of 6.9 billion pounds in 2016-17 – its first year as a new country – while facing a deficit of close to 6 per cent of national income, compared with a UK forecast of 2.1 per cent.”
The National Institute for Economic and Social Research, an independent body, estimated an independent Scotland would have had a deficit of 6.9 per cent in its first year.
The SNP said the oil price would pick up next year, leading to a revival of investment in North Sea petroleum projects. In its latest assessment of Scottish finances, the part of government in Edinburgh said “growth was at its fastest since before the financial crisis” and that the economy had returned to “pre-recession levels in the first half of this year.”