Sturgeon was 'largely protected by UK' after plunging oil revenues devastated ...

Scotland ‘can’t afford to be independent’ says Scottish voter

The Scottish First Minister is in the final stretch before this week's Holyrood elections. She is hoping to secure a majority with her Scottish National Party (SNP) which she argues will give her the mandate to call a second independence referendum. However, in recent weeks Ms Sturgeon has veered away from suggesting an Indyref2 would be held this year.

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She has instead said Scotland must focus on recovering from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

Many have questioned how viable an independent Scotland is.

Critics say the country would not be able to rely on its historically lucrative oil and gas revenues, both of which have become integral to Scotland's economy.

This is not only because of a gradual switch to renewables, but also a result of previous plunging revenues.

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Nicola Sturgeon: The Scottish First Minister was protected by the UK during Scotland's oil slumpNicola Sturgeon: The Scottish First Minister was protected by the UK during Scotland's oil slump (Image: GETTY)

Holyrood elections: Sturgeon has been on the campaign trail around Scotland in recent weeksHolyrood elections: Sturgeon has been on the campaign trail around Scotland in recent weeks (Image: GETTY)

In 2016, a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) revealed how Scotland, if it had achieved independence in 2014, would have faced the challenge of tax hikes or spending cuts to fill a £10billion-plus black hole.

This came after the drop in the cost of crude oil of $115 (£82) a barrel in the months leading up to the 2014 referendum meant that while the UK as a whole would be back in surplus by the end of the decade, Scotland’s budget deficit would remain at more than six percent of national income.

Vitally, it said Scotland was largely "insulated" from the impact of falling oil revenues because it was a part of the UK.

It added: "Figures on the Scottish deficit would be much more important if it became fully responsible for managing its own public finances.

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Boris Johnson: The PM is throwing his weight behind the campaign to stop Indyref2Boris Johnson: The PM is throwing his weight behind the campaign to stop Indyref2 (Image: GETTY)

"That is if it were to be fully fiscally autonomous or an independent state."

In the financial year 2016-17, the IFS said Scotland's deficit was around 9.4 percent against 2.9 percent for the UK as a whole.

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