HMRC shows UK made a loss on the North Sea in 2015-16

It is nearly 50 years since the North Sea returned a loss – but in 2015-16 the UK government spent more on the North Sea oil and gas industry – on investment and on support for decommissioning – than it took in tax revenue.

In the previous year, 2014-15, the net revenue take was  £2.15 Billion.

In 2015-16 the government made a loss of  £24 Million.

Only five years ago, the total tax take from the North Sea was almost £11 Billion, seducing the SNP – against expert advice and concern about the endemic volatility of oil prices – into basing their flawed prospectus for indyref 1 on a wildly generous estimate of annual revenues.

If the party had won the 2014 referendum and 24th March 2016 had indeed been Independence Day, Scotland’s budget balance would, from the outset, have taken the drop in a sink hole.

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  • You fail to mention that Scotland’s independence settlement would have been subject to negotiations between the rUK and Scottish governments.

    Other countries including UK and Norway have had to contend with a fall in oil revenues. RUK would have had to confront a drop in its revenue as well.

    Your conclusions are wishfall thinking than rigorous analysis.

    Scotland could have introduced a system of Annual Ground Rent charged per square metre on all land and floorspace which would have raised and can raise more public revenue than all existing taxation and refund a person on average earnings around £10,000 per annum in current taxes. Such a system of public revenue is not affected by the vagaries of oil or the global economy.

    It can also be up and running within months as the liability to calculate the rent rest with the owner and is largely self and peer regulating so does not need a big bureaucracy to administer and is 100% collectable and destroys the black economy and need for tax havens

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 13

    Graeme McCormick May 27, 2016 9:49 am Reply
    • It would’ve been ‘Jimmy, can you spare a groat?’

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

      Robert Wakeham May 27, 2016 10:50 am Reply
      • More self loathing cobblers!

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

        Nae Fear Here May 28, 2016 3:49 pm Reply
    • So the vast areas of land in Scotland would become a worthless burden. Anyone inclined to keep the land would be preoccupied with paying tax on it and not using the land’s meagre income from useful things like conservation and land management. Low intensity farming on hillsides would become even more non-viable putting those folk out of work, along with the fragile village and town economies dependent on farming.

      Anyone trying to get rid of the land would have trouble selling it – who would buy low or unproductive land with such tax obligations? So it would be virtually worthless, probably gifted back to the state or some other publicly owned institution in due course. They, naturally, would be exempt from paying the tax, or would have to take significantly increased grants to support their tax bills. A worthless money-go-round generating no value whatsoever.

      If the land was generating significant income per square metre right across the country, maybe its a good idea. But it doesn’t and never will do. Yes, there are individuals who own vast tracts of land and individually may be wealthy, but I bet calculating their wealth per square metre would show them to be poorer overall than even the most modest middle class family in an urban area.

      As for the private homes and properties whose gardens are suddenly taxed, we can welcome much more high density developments of the sort that are socially unattractive and people don’t want to live in. But they would be cheaper, so who cares what the people want.

      Its not an idea that would get my vote at all and would make Scotland a very unattractive place to be in the long term.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      Jerry McIver May 28, 2016 10:40 am Reply
  • Who would be paying this land tax? Everyone who has property?

    If an independent Scotland’s budget falls short of several billions that currently come from an external source (oil companies) and that source dries up but the SG will still have as much money as before then that money must come from internal sources i.e. residents and Scottish-based businesses.

    As an former employer of mine used to say, “Well, SOMEBODY has tae pay or it!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

    Andrew Argyle May 27, 2016 10:47 am Reply
  • GRAEME,
    Are you some sort of anarchist, or what?
    Since God was a boy we’ve had a system whereby the poor man who owns no property pays rent and gives service; where the man of modest means owning a plot pays taxes and tribute; where the rich man claiming title to lands as far as his eye can see receives not only the bounty of the land but rent, grants and subsidies.
    This notion of yours overturns the natural order of things!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

    jake May 27, 2016 6:23 pm Reply
    • JAKE – have you actually looked at Graeme’s proposal in any detail?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

      John M May 27, 2016 7:24 pm Reply
  • The dependent amongst us are beginning to sound pathetic. You don’t realise you’ve been taken for mugs for many centuries?
    That’s why the so called establishment buys favour by giving £300 and a stupid title. Keeps the plebs down.
    Lord Gormless,the mining Union prat,finished the uk for me!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

    Nae Fear Here May 27, 2016 7:51 pm Reply
    • NCH/NFH, are you referring to yourself?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

      richard May 28, 2016 11:06 am Reply
      • No,I was referring to a pathetic wee lickspittle!

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

        Nae Fear Here May 28, 2016 3:51 pm Reply
    • The dependent amongst us may have been taken for mugs but where has been the motivation or capability to do anything about it? Look at where there has been a popular uprising against the status quo – Zimbabwe, Syria, much of the middle east. The list goes on. The people have been freed and quickly demonstrated themselves to be ill equipped for the task they were so desperate to take on. Net result? The power hungry and opportunists filling the void, chaos and a massive loss of security and economic stability, so visibly demonstrated by the waves of desperate refugees flooding to Europe to escape. Are any of those places better now than when being run under so called ‘oppressive regimes’? My guess is most people in those areas now crave for the stable and safe communities they used to have in their home land.

      Things may not be perfect now, but at least its an understood imperfection we can all manage to work within in our own way.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      Jerry McIver May 28, 2016 12:54 pm Reply
  • Well Graeme, it would be one way of further depopulating areas like Cowal where many, if not most, of the properties date back to Victorian times and were constructed by and for the more affluent members of society. Two bedroom flats often have a floor area approaching 1,000 square feet and are occupied by quite ordinary people. Many of these buildings also come with large gardens.

    What would you have us do? Subdivide the properties into rabbit warrens? Build on every spare inch of garden?

    Oops, there goes the urban landscape and much of the tourist industry with it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

    JimB May 28, 2016 9:04 am Reply

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