WASHINGTON: The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has forecast receipts from North Sea oil and gas will be down by 94% this year to just £130m. Unionist politicians claimed an independent Scotland would have seen a “catastrophic” fall in income. The Scottish government had predicted revenues of up to £7.5bn in its independence white paper.
A spokesman for Finance Secretary John Swinney said Scotland remains the biggest oil producer in the EU. Chancellor George Osborne said there would have been “catastrophic cuts” if Scotland had voted for independence last year.
The latest OBR forecast was highlighted in the chancellor’s Autumn Statement and Spending Review. Its figure for this year of £130m contrasted with actual receipts for 2014-2015 of £2.2bn. The watchdog is now predicting that oil revenues will raise about £0.1bn per year over the next four years – well below forecasts it issued in July.
During his Autumn Statement, George Osborne said there would have been “catastrophic cuts” if Scotland had voted for independence Opposition parties said the SNP should apologise for overstating predictions ahead of the independence referendum. Labour MSP Jackie Baillie called for party leaders to “apologise to the Scottish people for misleading everybody on oil”.
Ms Baillie, the party’s public services spokeswoman at Holyrood, said: “(Deputy First Minister) John Swinney promised Scots oil revenues of £8bn in the year we would have left the UK.