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A prize worth winning: the future of North Sea oil

Tom Griffin
6 June 2008


Tom Griffin (London, The Green Ribbon):
Alex Salmond's opponents have long claimed that he would look to stir up trouble with Westminster at every opportunity.
His perfomance as First Minister has defied those predictions to some extent, but this week, he picked what looks like a carefully chosen fight:

First Minister Alex Salmond today stepped up his call for extra cash generated by rising oil prices to be used for Scotland's benefit.
He urged Westminster to use 10% of the £4.4 billion windfall to set up a long term oil fund to benefit Scotland in the years to come.
Mr Salmond also called for the introduction of a fuel price regulator, by which rising fuel tax revenues would be used to take the edge off fuel price rises.

The UK Government swiftly rejected the call:

Malcolm Wicks yesterday joined the Prime Minister and the Chancellor in rejecting the First Minister's demand for 10 per cent of the £4.5 billion windfall he claims that the Treasury will receive from soaring prices to establish the oil fund. Mr Wicks accused Alex Salmond of using the pain of higher fuel bills to make the case for independence.
He said: “Energy is a UK resource and it is used to benefit the whole of the United Kingdom.”

This debate comes as new research by BBC Scotland suggests the SNP's 70s slogan, 'It's Scotland's Oil' may not be past its sell-by date.
The indispensable Brian Taylor points us to a documentary which claims that there is still almost as much oil in the North Sea as has already been drilled.
You can still catch BBC Scotland Investigates: 2008 Truth, Lies, Oil and Scotland on iPlayer for the next few days.

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