UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s budget will see Scotland face crippling inflation with record taxes and spending cuts – a new austerity agenda that Labour is also signed up to. But it isn’t all bad news. In his effort to balance the books, Hunt has unwittingly revealed the true extent of Scotland’s wealth. A £14 Billion tax windfall on oil and gas. It’s an enormous figure, but not quite the whole story. Closer inspection of the budget reveals the UK expects to raise around £80 Billion from oil and gas taxes between now and 2028. A truly incredible sum. But there’s more. The UK’s new tax on electricity generation, including renewables, is expected to bring in £14 Billion in the same period. In total, the UK expects to raise a truly staggering £94 Billion in energy tax within the next six years. And some suspect it could perhaps be much much more.
Where does this leave Scotland? To understand the significance, we need to realise just how energy rich our nation is. With 8% of the UK population, Scotland has 96%t of UK oil and 63% of gas. We also have 90% of hydro with 25%t and rising of U K renewables. Scotland is a huge player in UK energy and of the £94 Billion the UK government expects to raise in tax, an estimated £70 Billion will come from Scotland.
What could Scotland do with this amazing sum?
We could have a wealth fund just as the Norwegians and every other energy rich nation does. We could insulate every home in Scotland to ensure our people never need face heating or eating again. Scotland could develop its energy grid to harness and distribute power more effectively. We could make the transition away from oil and gas to clean power faster and fairer. Scotland could finance a huge expansion of publicly owned energy production and export what we don’t use, with the potential to sell ten times what we require. Scotland could attract business and investment with cheap power. The potential is huge. But there’s one thing in the way. The U K government controls Scotland’s energy and the tax on those profits go straight to the London exchequer. There’s only one way to change that: Scottish independence.