Nicola Sturgeon’s plans for an independent Scotland denied by leading economist
Nicola Sturgeon’s plan to revive an independent Scotland’s economy with North Sea oil and gas revenues has been rejected by a world-renowned economist behind Norway’s £1trillion oil fund.
In his keynote address to the SNP conference earlier this month, the prime minister said a £20billion fund would be set up over the first 10 years of independence to keep the country’s economy afloat.
The ‘Building a New Scotland Fund’ would be funded by North Sea revenue, Scottish government borrowing and other ‘windfall revenue’, the SNP leader said.
However, Tony Mackay, an Inverness-based economist who first proposed setting up a wealth fund with Norway‘s oil and gas revenues alongside economist Terje Lind in the early 1970s, told The Sunday Times that it was “extremely doubtful” that there was enough oil and gas production. in the North Sea to finance the fund.
Mr Mackay, who is now an adviser to the Norwegian Ministry of Energy, told The Sunday Times: “The Norwegian Oil Fund has been very successful, more successful than I could have ever imagined.
“However, I have many doubts about this New Scotland Fund proposal as I believe future oil and gas revenues will be very low in the first decade of independence.
“Oil and gas production in the North Sea has declined significantly in recent years, with many fields ceasing production. Only a few remain from the 1970-2000 period.
“The SNP’s policy towards future developments is far from clear and the Scottish Greens strongly oppose it. How a New Scotland Fund would be financed is therefore very unclear.
His comments come ahead of a planned visit to Scotland by newly elected Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who will also meet with Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross on Monday to discuss the Union strategy reset.
Although an exact date has yet to be announced, Mr Sunak is expected to arrive “within the next few weeks”, The Herald reported.