Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Alex Salmond Calls for North Sea Taxation to be Devolved

Thankfully one of my vigilant readers brought this to my attention. The BBC, Scottish and UK media have ignored it.

Alex Salmond, Scotland's First Minister, has called for North Sea taxation to be devolved to Holyrood arguing that Scotland should start to benefit from its vast resources. Well done Mr Salmon and about time too!

During a meeting with the Norwegian Finance Minister, Sigbjorn Johnsen, in Oslo, Mr Salmond and Mr Johnsen discussed the Norwegian Oil Fund, the benefits it has secured for Norwegians and lessons Scotland can learn from the way their fund is managed and operated.

Norway's oil fund is worth over £300 billion and in the UK £242 billion of tax revenue has come from Scottish waters over the past 30 years.

Of course the UK government will further insult Scotland by suggesting the idea is ludicrous. The time has come for the oil revenues to be fairly divided. Already I can hear the English wailing it's not Scotland's oil but the UK's oil. They're wrong and no matter how much any Westminster government tries to change the sea boundaries, the oil in the past 30 years has been found in Scottish waters.


William said...

How much does this revenue generate? And how much does the Scottish Executive presently spend on its annual Budget?

Quiet_Man said...

The only way you'll get it is to vote for independence. As the last I checked not enough of you want to leave the union, it's a situation you'll have to put up with. Salmond knows this, which means that he's just blowing hot air at Cameron in the hope of getting another bone thrown to him in the form of some sort of concession (another delay in the necessary cuts Scotland has deferred this year probably)

subrosa said...

William, dare I suggest that you're possibly a better Googler than me?

subrosa said...

Oh yes, I know that QM, but it's time Salmond reminded England that they don't subsidise us. Really I'm becoming as weary with that myth being pedaled as I am of the EU is good for us.

Alex Porter said...

naturally, most expenditure in Scotland is paid out of taxation. We have oil on top of that which is why we are in a surplus. England does not which is why she runs a massive deficit which Scotland will now have to help pay from tax hikes and service cuts.

A country can borrow money based on future income. Oil revenue is perfect for borrowing money and so Britain has been a petroeconomy since the 70s. The money behind The CIty all came from the North Sea.

It kept the British economy from sinking for going on 4 decades now. I think a little thank you for our generosity from our Southern neighbour is order.

Why can I only imagine some more fantasy grudge and complaints on the subject of public sector spending?

William said...

Alex, how much is the revenue for this year and what is the Scottish Executive budget for this year? What is the Scottish share of the UK debt?

I'm trying to ascertain whether the oil revenues will be sufficient to sustain Scotland's current spending and debt commitments.

Oldrightie said...

I used to fly oil survey work over the North Sea. More reserves lie to the South and east. Holland does very well, Germany zilch!

Dioclese said...

I understand where you are coming from. Even as an Englishman I can appreciate your argument. However, only full independence will ever settle this as Scotland benefits from taxes levied on the whole of the UK on a wide range of things that are decided on a UK basis.
I support Scottish independence - and incidentally English independence as well - but you can't have your cake and eat it. With respect, I think you could be in danger of only looking at one side of a many sided coin?

Dean said...

Lets have fiscal autonomy for Scotland. An end to matters.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Much is made of the viability or otherwise of oil revenue. This is based on extraction and doesn't include tax and duty paid on the commodity.

The same applies to whisky and any other product of Scotland while the tax is set and collected by Westminster. This practice inflates London's returns to the detriment of the values earned by the supplying areas.

For instance, how many oil companies have their head office in Scotland?

(answers on a stamp please)

Joe Public said...

Oh wouldn't it be fun if Shetland, Orkney, Grampian & Highland regions decided that all that oil-wealth was actually theirs, and declared UDI from the rest of Scotland / the UK!

After all, why should they share it with say the Western Isles, or Borders for example?

Joe Public said...


"For instance, how many oil companies have their head office in Scotland?

(answers on a stamp please)"

How about Cairn Energy plc

cynicalHighlander said...

A link for the myth believers on the Scottish economy.

Alex Porter said...

Look it up if you're interested. The share of UK debt is naturally on the population basis so we lose historical surpluses but that's all part of being in a union..

There is no reason to believe Scotland would be any worse off than say Holland or at the top of the range Norway. That's just common sense..

When a country needs to borrow to balance its budget it has to pay interest. The rate of interest is determined by the ability to pay it back. An independent England would have to borrow against future income tax (the people's labour) whereas Scotland would borrow against income and oil. That means that if needed to borrow to balance the budget we could at very favourable rates..

In that scernario you can imagine that Scotland will have few problems surviving relative to her closest neighbours..

Andrew BOD said...


Dana Petroleum, Petrofac, Wood Group, Subsea7, Venture Production, Melrose Resources, Bowleven, Statoil, Hydrasun, Balmoral Group, Vetco Gray, Sparrows Offshore Ltd, Drilltech Group, Apex Tubulars, Cairn Energy, and many, many more...

Furthermore, the oil companies not registered in Scotland are still subject to taxation and still contribute a large amount of jobs and salaries to the country. I don't really see the point of your attempt at belittlement. Perhaps it's just that.

If reduced to font size 1.5, the names of all of these oil companies might fit onto a large stamp.

subrosa said...

Are all these south and east areas being probed OR?

subrosa said...

I don't want my cake and eat it Dioclese, I want the right to choose which cake I have and the right to choose whether I'll eat it.

Of course it's a multifaceted issue and one in which the type of benefit system, taxes, healthcare etc system we need and can afford. Yet not even the SNP have managed to bring any of these branches into public discussion. If they did many more people would realise we could look after ourselves.

subrosa said...

That would be a help Dean, but not the end to matters.

subrosa said...

None as far as I know RA, because no Scottish oil companies are involved in the North Sea oil business.

subrosa said...

Aren't the Shetlanders already saying that Joe?

subrosa said...

Jings Joe, yes, forgot about them and they were just in the news this week.

subrosa said...

CH, that's an excellent link, thanks. I used to have it in bookmarks but somehow lost it.

subrosa said...

Andrew, I was thinking more about the 'boy boys' in oil. The likes of Petrofac is an arm of a US company with a complex history like many of these companies.

subrosa said...

Oh btw Andrew, Petrofac (which I know a wee bit about) has their Head Office in London not Scotland.

William said...

Alex, it's not as simple as 'looking it up'. I thought maybe the Nationalists had prepared a considered argument based on total taxation revenues, total Scottish spending (including current Westminster spending in Scotland), total Scottish debt, projections for future Scottish public spending and oil revenues.

I hadn't realised that all the Nats had actually done is shout 'hey, that's oor oil an' that, we want it back, ken'.

My mistook.

The SNP seem utterly devoid of any original ideas. Whining about oil taxation is, sadly, a typically brainless statement from them. Where are their bold ideas for Scotland's future? Establishment of institutes of technology and research? Investment in the technologies that will drive the 21st century? Naw, let's just moan about oil. Again. What a pathetic shower.

subrosa said...

Mmmm, I hear complete silence from the unionist corners about any ideas for Scotland's future far less bold ones William.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Andrew,the companies mentioned above are mainly service companies and minor sub or licensed extractors who's genealogy by lease or the lessening of tax liabilities can be tracked back to the majors.

I'm not aware of any Scottish company of any size or discipline who pays tax to a Scottish government.

To paraphrase an old folk song - It's Scotland that supplies the product and Westminster that takes the gain.

Except for the tax element (which still goes to Westminster) the offices and employment issues are non-sequesters since these would still be needed to produce the product.

Alex Porter said...

That old chestnut, eh? Well, perhaps the City of London can take their derivatives and declare independence? Or maybe London could declare independence - where would that leave the rest of England (actually much better off but you get the point). Maybe the gold mines in Australia can declare independence.

Usual unionist bull that makes no point simply stirring it.

Oh, and why if Shetland was so minded do they not declare independence already?

What a typically insincere comment!

Alex Porter said...

You're a eedgit William,

Ofcourse the SNP have the figures - I'm not the SNP and I don't have to toodle off every time some union propagandist demands that I do some economic research on their behalf.

Do you know anything about what the SNP have done in renewables or even what the oil technology sector is doing in Aberdeen and around?

Nothing - you simply bleat just like those brainless clowns in London who have no answers accept that they need to keep subsidising London.

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