Oil figures show folly of FFA

After months and months of waiting the SNP Government thought it would aid parliamentary scrutiny by publishing its new oil projections at the fag end of the parliamentary session this week.

If this were a game I could understand the tactic but income from oil was at the heart of the independence debate less than one year ago. If the result had been different we would not just be dealing with the jobs crisis in the North Sea but a financial crisis too for what would soon be an independent Scotland.  So this is no game, it's serious.

The reason it is serious is this. The difference between the the most optimistic projections the SNP made last year and their revised projections this week is between £5billion and £6billion each year. That's not an insignificant amount. The NHS budget in Scotland is around £12billion each year. So the drop in oil revenues is around half of the value of the NHS budget.

Of course government's can borrow to help with the ebbs and flows of incomes but to build in such wild volatility into a nation's finances would be irresponsible.  Borrowing to fill the massive, and probably permanent, hole in the finances would be costly and unsustainable.

Despite these figures the SNP persist with their plans for Full Fiscal Autonomy. The Institute of Fiscal Studies told us that the shortfall in Scotland's finances would start at £7.6billion a year and that is on top of the existing budget deficit in the UK. The total deficit would be almost double that at £14billion.

These oil figures confirm the folly of Full Fiscal Autonomy.

The big question is will the SNP put our country before their policy and ditch Full Fiscal Autonomy. 

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