Douglas Ross clashes with Nicola Sturgeon over IndyRef2
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Nicola Sturgeon’s plans for an independent Scotland have been rubbished by a leading economist, who said it was “extremely doubtful” that there would be enough oil and gas to finance the plans. The Scottish First Minister has announced plans to fund Scottish independence, which would primarily rely on North Sea oil and gas revenues. Speaking in her keynote speech at the SNP conference earlier this month, Ms Sturgeon said a £20 billion fund, known as the “Building a New Scotland Fund”, would be created within the first 10 years of independence to keep the country’s economy afloat.
She said the fund would be financed through North Sea revenues, Scottish Government borrowing and other “windfall income”.
But Scottish economist Tony Mackay has questioned the plans, saying it is “extremely doubtful” that there would be enough oil and gas production in the North Sea to finance the fund.
The economist, who now serves as an adviser to Norway’s energy ministry, told The Sunday Times: “The Norwegian oil fund has been very successful, more successful than I ever imagined.
“However, I have many doubts over this proposal for a New Scotland Fund because I believe future oil and gas revenues will be very small in the first decade of independence.
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“North Sea oil and gas production has declined massively in recent years as many fields have ceased production.
“Only a few remain in comparison with the 1970-2000 period.”
He added: “The SNP’s policy towards future developments is far from clear and the Scottish Greens are strongly opposed.
“How a New Scotland Fund would be financed is therefore very unclear.”
Earlier this month, the First Minister unveiled the SNP’s latest independence paper, which outlined economic and currency plans for a Scotland outside of the Union.
The paper included a proposal on re-joining the EU for access to the Single Market, making it clear that reversing Brexit is key to the SNP’s independence vision.
Speaking about the paper, the Scottish First Minister said that the UK Government “cannot be trusted to act in Scotland’s interests”.
She said “independence is now essential” in order to “prevent further economic damage being inflicted by Westminster Governments”.
The First Minister claimed that Brexit has made the UK even more “ill-equipped to cope with events like the cost of living crisis”.
Ahead of the speech, the First Minister said Scotland an “abundance of skilled people, innovative businesses, and natural resources”.
But the SNP leader warned: “Scotland’s economy is one of the best performing in the UK – however, the UK economy, particularly post-Brexit, is now lagging behind many EU and international comparators.
“The UK economic model is demonstrably failing and increasingly holding Scotland back. Independence is now essential to build an economy that works for everyone.”
Ms Sturgeon’s plans for independence, which involve rejoining the EU, were dealt a further blow last week when a number of Brussels insiders warned that an independent Scotland would have to join the Euro.
One unnamed insider told the Times: “No euro, no membership.”
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