An independent Scotland would need to fix fiscal gap of £6bn, report warns

Scale of remedial action depends on ‘how quickly North Sea oil run out’

An independent Scotland would  likely face a decline of revenues from the North Sea over the longer-term, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, a London-based think tank.

An independent Scotland would likely face a decline of revenues from the North Sea over the longer-term, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, a London-based think tank.

Tue, Nov 19, 2013, 01:00


Scotland w

ould have to find £6 billion (€7.15 billion) through tax increases or spending cuts within four years of independence if the country’s finances are to be placed on a solid footing, a major report has warned.

However, the full scale of the actions facing an independent Scotland will depend on how quickly North Sea oil runs out, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, a London-based think tank.

Scotland’s national debt will rise beyond 100 per cent of national income by 2030 unless draconian action is taken – actions that would have to be even tougher than those currently being implemented or those planned by the Conservative-Liberal Democrats government in London.


High spending
Public spending is higher per head in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK, while taxes in Scotland – excluding North Sea oil and gas revenues for the Treasury – are equal per head to those garnered elsewhere, said the economics body.

“However, the outlook for public borrowing in future is less favourable for Scotland than for the UK as a whole because of demographic pressures and the likely decline of revenues from the North Sea over the longer-term,” it said.

Scotland’s finance minister John Swinney concentrated on the positive, saying the report “actually underlines the case for an independent Scotland with full control of its own economy and the ability to take decisions”.