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.