New projections for oil and gas revenues have left the SNP’s economic case for independence ‘in tatters’, Labour said today.
The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has downgraded its forecast for offshore receipts by 37 per cent since November.
The UK Treasury is now expected to receive £4.6billion between 2017-18 and 2021-22, down £2.7billion from £7.3billion since November.
The SNP projected Scottish revenues of up to £11.8billion in 2017-18 alone prior to the independence referendum.
Labour has also described the Chancellor’s announcements on the future of the oil and gas industry as a ‘missed opportunity’.
Scottish Labour’s economy spokesperson Jackie Baillie said:
“The SNP’s economic case for independence now lies in tatters.
“The official projections for oil and gas revenues have been revised downwards yet again.
“Scottish Labour warned time and again during the independence referendum campaign about the SNP’s rose-tinted fantasy of an independent Scotland’s finances. Time and again we were told we were talking Scotland down.
“But now the facts are clear. With a £15billion deficit, the cost of independence to our valued public services would be even more brutal.
“Scottish Labour will never support independence. We believe together we’re stronger.”
Responding to announcement of a formal discussion paper for the oil and gas industry and an expert panel, Labour’s Shadow Scottish Secretary Dave Anderson said:
“This is a missed opportunity from the Tory government.
“It was speculated before the budget that there may have been some tax relief for the industry, but we have now heard that the Chancellor has taken the inadequate step of launching a consultation in the form of a formal discussion paper.
“The industry is of vital importance to the Scottish economy, and in particular to the north east where we have already seen an astronomical loss of jobs as a result of the downturn.
“Time and time again, the Tory Government has hidden from the problems facing the oil and gas industry and kicked it into the long grass to be dealt with at a later date.
“It is time the Government took action to help attract much-needed investment to the offshore oil and gas industry