Aberdeen’s oil and gas industry dominated First Minister’s Questions at Holyrood, as the possibility of a second independence referendum draws closer.
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson highlighted the impact the collapse in the price of oil could have had on Scotland’s prospects for independence after the 2014 referendum.
She said: “Of course, we all know what has happened since the Deputy First Minister spoke about all our big bonuses – oil receipts have collapsed.
“People across Scotland now have a simple question: without those oil receipts, can the Deputy First Minister point to any independent analysis that shows Scotland’s economy would fare better right now if we were outside the UK?”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was in London at the unveiling of a memorial to those involved in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, so Deputy First Minister John Swinney fielded questions.
He said: “I certainly consider oil to be a big bonus.
“It has certainly been a huge bonus for the United Kingdom — there has been £300 billion-worth of revenues for the United Kingdom.
“Of course, I am not the only person who thought that oil was a bonus. In 2014, the Prime Minister came to Aberdeen and said that, if Scots voted no in the referendum, there would be a £200 billion oil boom bonus for Scotland.
“I say to Ruth Davidson that yes, oil is a bonus, and it has propped up the UK economy for many years.”
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said: “Yesterday, the Office for Budget Responsibility confirmed North Sea oil and gas actually cost the Treasury money last year.
“The reality is people in Scotland were given false hope by the SNP, based on a false prospectus.”
Mr Swinney responded: “If we are to pass accusations about guilt around the chamber, the Labour Party has to think long and hard about how it has enabled the Tory party to govern the United Kingdom because of their awful stance in the 2014 referendum, which ushered in a Tory Government that is taking us out of the European Union, punishing vulnerable people in our society and damaging people’s life chances.”