The price of oil must climb back to $200 a barrel before SNP plans for full fiscal autonomy add up, according to Scottish Labour.
Frustrated at Scottish Government delays to publish an updated oil and gas bulletin to reflect the recent price crash, Labour released its own report yesterday validated by independent Scottish Parliament researchers.
The publication came on the day when a report from Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce said two-thirds of North Sea operators have cancelled projects due to the collapse of the oil price, which yesterday stood at just over $60 a barrel.
In separate developments at Westminster the SNP submitted a motion to the Scotland Bill to allow the Scottish Parliament to bring in full fiscal autonomy if it wants.
It coincided with a new report from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) which downgraded North Sea oil revenues to just £2billion between 2020 and 2040, £37billion less than previously estimated.
It added that over the next five years just £3.4billion in tax receipts will be generated offshore.
The Scottish Government downplayed the report stating the Scottish economy was about far more than just oil.
According to Labour’s economic analysis plummeting oil prices could lead to a £9.7billion cut in Scottish Government spending.
To jeers from the SNP benches at Holyrood, Scottish Labour deputy leader Kezia Dugdale said: “This is the oil paper that the SNP government won’t print.
“We would need a global oil price of 200 US dollars (£129) to balance Scotland’s books under the SNP’s plans for full fiscal autonomy.”
When challenged Deputy First Minister John Swinney refused to state what oil price he thought would be needed to balance the books under full fiscal autonomy.
Instead he said the government was waiting to see what were the implications of changes to the tax regime in the March budget before publishing an updated oil and gas bulletin.
Then he turned on Labour stating it should have learned a lesson from its general election thrashing and Ms Dugdale was out of touch with public opinion with her sustained attack on full fiscal autonomy.
Referring to the OBR report Tory energy spokesman Murdo Fraser later said: “We have no explanation whatsoever on how the SNP would balance the books if a fiscally autonomous Scotland – which it wants to see – was so exposed to this decline in revenue.”