Yesterday’s Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) oil figures exposed the dodgy sums at the heart of the SNP’s General Election economic strategy, Kezia Dugdale said today.
Speaking at First Minister’s Questions today, Scottish Labour’s Deputy Leader said that the revised OBR oil figures mean the SNP’s plan for full fiscal autonomy would result in public spending cuts in Scotland worth £7.6 billion.
Figures produced by the independent and impartial experts at the Scottish Parliament last week confirmed that cutting public spending in Scotland by £6.5 billion, the value of Barnett to Scotland, would cost 138,000 jobs here.
Today, the experts at the Scottish Parliament and the Institute for Fiscal Studies have said that the revised oil figures produced by the OBR yesterday mean the value of the Barnett formula to Scotland in future years is likely to increase to around £7.6 billion. The IFS last week calculated this figure to be £6.6 billion, before the OBR revised oil forecasts downwards.
The SNP’s plan for full fiscal autonomy would mean the scrapping of Barnett, to be replaced by reliance on volatile and rapidly declining oil revenues.
Scottish Labour’s Deputy Leader said that even the SNP’s most pessimistic oil estimates were out by £10 billion. On their most optimistic scenario they were out by almost £30 billion.
Kezia Dugdale said the First Minister should do the decent thing and admit the SNP’s plan to bin Barnett would be a disaster for Scotland.
Ms Dugdale made the call after new figures published yesterday by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) exposed the impact of falling oil revenues on the SNP’s key General Election demand of full fiscal autonomy for Scotland within the UK.
Scottish Labour also called on the SNP to back a Scottish Office for Budget Responsibility (SOBR), so that there is an independent and impartial Scottish financial watchdog.
Scottish Labour’s Deputy Leader Kezia Dugdale said:
“Yesterday’s oil figures from the experts at the OBR expose the dodgy sums at the heart of the SNP’s General Election economic strategy.
“The SNP’s plan for full fiscal autonomy within the UK would be devastating for Scotland. Last week their own figures exposed the £6.5 billion worth of cuts that would be needed because of the SNP’s plan to scrap Barnett and rely on oil revenues. Now we know the figure is even higher at £7.6 billion.
“Scots appreciate straight talking. What we can’t stand is when our government tries to cover up the truth about the impact of its policies.
“The First Minister should just do the decent thing and admit her plan to scrap Barnett would be devastating for Scotland and mean public spending cuts of £7.6 billion. That’s austerity-max for Scotland under the SNP.
“It’s welcome that after months of ducking and diving Nicola Sturgeon will now publish a revised oil and gas bulletin. The SNP Government’s oil figures simply cannot be trusted