Time for oil fund - Scottish Finance Secretary

By: Information Daily Staff Writer
Published: Monday, July 27, 2009 - 10:31 GMT Jump to Comments

Scottish oil wealth must leave a lasting legacy for the country, Finance Secretary John Swinney will say later this week.

The Scottish Government will advance its case for an oil fund for Scotland, part of the next stage of the National Conversation.

An oil fund would invest a proportion of Scotland's oil and gas revenues to provide a permanent source of wealth and revenue for future generations.

Mr Swinney will later this week publish a discussion paper on the issues surrounding the creation of a fund while opening the new Aberdeen Centre for Research in Energy Economics and Finance at the University of Aberdeen.

He said:

"Adjusted for inflation, some £230 billion of tax revenue has come directly from Scottish territorial waters over the past 30 years.

"Including a geographical share of North Sea revenues, Scotland has been in current budget surplus for three years.

"The Treasury's own projections show the North Sea will remain a major source of tax revenue for years to come.

"The UK Government has wasted the resources from the North Sea but there are hundreds of billions worth of reserves still to be recovered and we may only be at the halfway point in terms of revenues.

"We want to harness the benefit of oil revenues now for future years. An oil fund can provide greater stability, protect our economy and support the transition to a low carbon economy. Norway's oil fund is worth over £200 billion - despite the first instalment being made as recently as the mid 1990s - and Alaska's oil fund even gives money back to its citizens every year.

"The Calman Commission recognised that Scotland is entitled to a fair share of our own oil revenues yet the UK is practically alone among major oil and gas producers in not having an oil fund.

"The UK Government can no longer oppose the people of Scotland enjoying the oil legacy they are entitled to and, for that to happen, the Scottish Parliament must assume responsibility for our geographical share of North Sea revenues."

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