Coffee House

Does Alex Salmond want to swap rule from London for rule by OPEC?

4 March 2014

4 March 2014

Another day, another hole blown in Alex Salmond’s case for breaking up Britain. The IFS has today published its estimates (based on the OBR’s) for Scottish oil and gas revenues, and they’re less than half those of the SNP administration in Edinburgh.

Salmond forecast oil and gas revenues of between £6.8 billion and £7.9 billion in 2016-17. The IFS puts it at £3.3 billion. Salmond’s best-case scenario for 2017-18 has Scotland with a deficit of 1.0 per cent of GDP; the IFS’s figures suggest that’ll be closer to 3.6 per cent of GDP. A country like Britain can ride out such fluctuations, but Salmond may find he’s swapping rule from London by rule by OPEC. On the basis of these new figures, the IFS has calculated that cutting an independent Scotland would have to keep cutting – if it didn’t, its deficit in 2018-19 would more than double. Salmond has complained long and loud about cuts made by the coalition in areas like welfare, but he should not pretend the fiscal options of an independent Scotland would be any more attractive.


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  • Bill McLean

    Sorry Fraser – I’d far rather read the accounting and forecasting of future oil from the actual industry (Oil and Gas UK) not the much ridiculed Office of National Statistics and Office of Budget responsibility. Even if their figures were accurate it would still leave Scotland in a healthier position than the rUK. Fortunately these ludicrous, badly put together scare stories are being laughed at by people in Scotland. And in regard to the nonsensical Opec (opec does not set UK oil prices) or Westminster – does Opec rule Westminster now – you know those for whom the oil is a godsend but would be a liability for Scotland. We’ll be ruled by Holyrood for the good of people living in Scotland, not as currently, by Westminster who run the UK for the good of bankers and big business – many of whom, had they lived in Iceland, would now be in jail. Grow up young man – wool pulling is for the sophisticated not the sophist!

    • HookesLaw

      Its the IFS – Institute for Fiscal Studies.

      • dougthedug

        But they based everything on the OBR’s forecasts.

  • Rockin Ron

    Scotland will reject independence because too many Scots are dependent on State benefits. End of.

  • Maidmarrion

    Well there’s a speculative headline – bit more research required .
    suspect Scotland will be just fine with her oil and her whisky revenue.
    I suspect London and the rest of the UK will be struggling without it .
    For those whose abilities only reach as far as the MSM ,try extending them to works by others ,more knowledgeable than the luvvies ,who pretend to know all but know little.
    As for Barnett , Scots have paid in more than they ever got out , so please stop whining about it.
    London gets most , followed by NI then Scotland – however England is dealt with region by region not country by country , should make for interesting arithmetic should it not?

    • Nicholas chuzzlewit

      So why no march on London by Scots demanding an end to the Barnett formula because they are being financially disadvantaged? Why no demand from Salmond in Parliament for an end to the Barnett formula?

    • Bill McLean

      Maidmarrion – Scots, per head, pay on average £500 more than English people. They don’t like to hear it but it is of course true otherwise the despicable Better Together, self styled, Project Fear, would be all over the figures. All outside observers see Scotland as better off independent. The rUK well………. poor dears! Watched the propaganda programme about London the other night and how successful and rich it was. If that is the case why are we Scots going to be contributing to Cross-Rail, new sewers and all the other goodies for mighty London. I wonder if, when we are Independent, and rUk starts to struggle due to the vast loss of revenue from Scotland, will London help the remaining regions? What do you think? Go on be charitable!

      • Maidmarrion

        Bill , I have been losing my charitable status regarding Westminster and the miserable ,misinforming media – in fact I have been reduced to a one word and very impolite comment on many occasions.
        However , it wins by being succinct!

  • Daniel Maris

    It isn’t just oil and gas. Scotland has seen a 60% increase in exports since 2000 in Scotch Whisky. With the growth of the global status-seeking middle class, there is no reason to suppose they can’t repeat that over the next 15 years.

    They have huge agricultural potential, huge green energy potential, huge fracking potential. Once they are an independent state they can pursue low corporation tax policies as Ireland does.

  • dougthedug

    The IFS has today published its estimates (based on the OBR’s) for Scottish oil and gas revenues

    Read this quote:

    “Current projections from a wide range of organisations are largely
    upward. The ITEM Club forecast price rises over $130 a barrel; as does
    the Department for Energy in the UK. NIESR, the Economist Intelligence
    Unit and the US Energy Information Administration all forecast rises
    above $110 a barrel. The UK Government’s newly formed OBR – which
    Alistair Darling accused of being a front for the Conservative Party –
    is isolated in predicting a price fall.”

    From the Business for Scotland web site.

    Probably the simplest thing to do is just look at this graph from the page.

    Based on the OBR’s figures? Oh dear, oh dear.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Goodness, those OBR figures are well off from everybody else in the world. The OBR is either of genius quality or they’re biased somehow. Hmmmmm, who controls the OBR?

    • Ronnie Strachan

      businessforscotland run by a bankrupt and hand picked by the snp with fewer than 4% of Scotlands Businessmen joining – another SNP mouthpiece along with yourself

      • dougthedug

        Excellent ‘avoiding the numbers’ comment there Ronnie.

    • HookesLaw

      ‘Business for Scotland’? A really independent body!

      • dougthedug

        Business for Scotland didn’t generate the data forecasts which contradict the OBR.

        The ITEM Club, the Department for Energy in the UK, NIESR, the Economist Intelligence Unit and the US Energy Information Administration did.

  • alabenn

    This IFS is a tainted body, its figures are as reliable as Browns, Balls and Osbornes, anyone know of a forecast they accurately predicted.

    • Shinsei1967

      You are confusing the IFS with the OBR. The IFS don’t make forecasts. They analyse budget decisions and the effects of policy decisions.

      • Daniel Maris

        I suggest you type in “IFS predicts” on Google and see just how many forecasts they do actually make. And the vast majority are tendentious guesswork with a political purpose.

  • MichtyMe

    Thanks Fraser for the chart, showing that currently, Scotland’s public deficit is lower than the UK, long may it continue.

  • the viceroy’s gin

    What does “OPEC” have to do with this, lad, or were you Speccie kids just throwing around empty jargon again?

    • Shinsei1967

      Oil price still largely set by the decisions of OPEC members (who control 40% of global oil production). Less influential than it was in the 70s and 80s but still the key player.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …the Speccie kid is claiming Jockistan will be ruled by OPEC. I don’t think so.

        • BarkingAtTreehuggers

          Frankfurt to join OPEC? That would be breaking news indeed.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            …everybody knows Jockistan will be ruled by socialist nutters, if it ever decides to let go of the suckling teat of government, which it will never do as we know.

  • MichtyMe

    The UK Government produces two estimates of Oil Revenues, the OBR and the Dept of Energy. The figure from the Dept of Energy for period to 2017/18 is double the OBR at £60 billion. Other estimates from the industry are also greater.

  • London Calling

    When it comes to radical Scots, sometimes tail docking is the kindest option……………..:O

  • allymax bruce

    Fraser, all ‘questionable’ numbers; that will change at the behest of the Westminster spin machine, daily trading, and demand dependency. The fact is, Scotland has oil & gas, and shift-loads of it !
    So, Fraser, stick that in yer abbacus, and see how that ‘computes’ !
    Your ‘dark noise’ hate campaign is getting into gear with that of BBC, STV, aw’ ra peppers, n’ aw ra onionist pollyticians. Anyway, how high is Eddie Mair; higher than a garden gnome?

  • Doggie Roussel

    Go, for God’s sake go… We, in England will take our chances

    • asalord

      If only die-hard British nationalists like Mr Nelson would take heed of your wishes and accept the inevitable, Doggie. But he, and like-minded others, refuse to do so. Shame.

  • dalai guevara

    A deficit of only 3.6%? What an eden-like paradise.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …nowhere near where you socialists want it to be, eh lad?

  • Fatboy295

    Surely they are swapping for rule by those in denial

    I hope salmond wins. If the scots vote for independence they deserve everything they get!

    • Doggie Roussel

      And so will we in England !

    • Tom Tom

      Scotland will have a claim on the Foreign Aid budget

  • RavenRandom

    They’ll just say…”la la la can’t hear you, not true, bullying English” and so on.
    Salmond will dismiss and deny any amount of facts to get what he wants.

  • Daniel Maris

    Everyone knows the IFS is a creature of Cameron. I am getting really sick of these anti-Scotland arguments. I am sure of one thing: those IFS estimates have not been adjusted for the Ukraine crisis.

    • monty61

      It certainly puts a hole in Salmond’s ‘free money for everybody’ strategy.

      • Fatboy295

        It doesn’t.

        To have that effect he would have to be honest with the electorate and that is never going to happen.

        BTW That’s not a comment on salmond in particular but a comment on politicians in general

    • dalai guevara

      But it’s not even ‘anti’ whatever you say it was.
      3.6% < 6.7%, and that's just the maths.

    • Makroon

      You are nuts (but we know that).
      If the IFS lean any way, it’s towards Balls.
      Labour have far more reason to be desperate for Scotland to stay in the union.

      • Daniel Maris

        You indulge in insult as a substitute for argument.

        IFS is just stuffed full of establishment types who like the way things are now, with them in charge. They want to maintain the Union. They want to maintain mass immigration. They want to maintain the banking system as it is. Because most of them do very well out of it.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          And you indulge in ill-informed fantasist rubbish in substitution for logical argument.

    • Shinsei1967

      Ridiculous

      1) IFS has nothing to do with Cameron

      2) The IFS has (I’m sure) no institutional interest in which way Scots vote. They are merely reporting facts. If the facts show Scotland being worse off then don’t blame the messenger.

      3) Well so far the Ukraine crisis has had no significant impact on any of the economic variables the IFS will have considered. If you want to pencil in an oil price of $400 so as to make Salmond’s sums add up then go ahead. You won’t get many people believing you though.

      • Daniel Maris

        OK, I may have overstepped the mark in referring to it as a creature of Cameron but I would say most definitely it is an outgrowth of our political elite and provides the mood music for the government, which the government finds very helpful e.g. in downgrading ordinary people’s expectations while bankers stuff themselves from the bonus trough.

        You seem ill-tutored in epistemology. A prediction can never be a fact, it can only ever be a prediction. Predicting something as complex as the economic fate of a nation of six million to within a few per cent is a rather hubristic exercise. But I see no reason why Scotland with similar resources to people in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland should be so very much poorer than them in the long run.

        The Ukrainian crisis has already had an effect on gas and electricity prices across Europe.

    • HookesLaw

      Typically you have to invent preposterous notions to make your logic hang together.

  • Denis_Cooper

    It seems that the IFS is making deductions from the OBR’s forecasts, not making its own estimates, and so a little caution might be in order.

    • allymax bruce

      Why stop the Paranoid-Schizoid hystrics, Denis? They luv to hate; let them hate; the truth matters not when the shrill soul comes calling!

    • MichtyMe

      The OBR forecasts are half what the Governments own Dept of Energy estimate.

      • itdoesntaddup

        The OBR’s forecasts have proved optimistic in budget Red Books.

    • Bill McLean

      IFS have just had to adjust upwards their forecast for the Scottish economy!
      Good aren’t they!

  • sfin

    Ha! Ha! Ha! Sometimes the Claymore is no match for a perfectly placed stiletto!

    But please stop discouraging the whiners – I want our Barnett formula money back and I want socialism disinfected from England.

    • Slicer

      I agree. The FT ran a piece a few weeks ago saying that Labour would need 250,000 extra votes to form a government if Scotland leaves the UK.

      • Pootles

        Only 250,000 ? A year’s immigration then. Hardly a big barrier to that lot (or this current lot, come to it).

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          Not even that. Just a bit more fiddling of the postal vote should do the trick.

          • Pootles

            Yes, you said it. The open-ended expansion of the postal vote is one of the great assaults on democracy in recent years. Horrible.

    • asalord

      Bitter together – better apart. The union is finished,thank God. The sooner we all accept that the better for all of us. Long live an independent Scotland and an independent England!

      • Wessex Man

        Yes just to see you disappering over the rainbow would brighten my year.

    • Bill McLean

      My, my – who’s whining now? Stiletto that well known Italian weapon- oh those damned foreigners!

      • sfin

        Ah! I see I’ve caught a couple…Welcome back the nats!

        You’ve all been dreadfully quiet since Barroso & Osborne injected some reality into the debate…

  • Jabez Foodbotham

    No, he wants to swap rule from Westminster to rule by Holyrood.

    • Bluesman_1

      That explains the pretensions to Brussels then.

      • Jabez Foodbotham

        Well, Brussels writ already runs in Scotland via Westminster rule so the pretensions you talk of are already fact, will the facts continue is another question.

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