Scotland Office lets Scotland down

SNP Westminster Treasury spokesperson, Stewart Hosie MP, has countered an attack by Scotland Office Minister, David Cairns, on SNP proposals to use the oil tax windfall to mitigate the effects of fuel price rises, and establish an oil fund for Scotland.

Addressing an oil industry dinner in Aberdeenshire, Mr Cairns will say: "Oil prices at current levels are bad news for the economy, bad news for motorists and bad news for people struggling to pay fuel bills. Sky high oil prices are not good news for Scotland."

Mr Hosie said:

"David Cairns is either very brave or very stupid launching an attack like this in the North East of Scotland where farmers, fishermen and motorists are all reeling at the cost of fuel.

"David Cairns failure to recognise the real pain being felt throughout the country shows the Scotland Office not only to be out of touch, but unfit for purpose.

"I don’t think David Cairns will find much sympathy for his view that Scotland should not get its share of the massive windfall from soaring oil prices to provide relief for hard pressed motorists.

"A real Scotland Office would have been backing the First Minister’s demands for a share of the windfall from Scottish oil. David Cairns petulant comments demonstrate he is simply London’s man in Scotland, not Scotland’s man in the Cabinet.

"On an issue like this, politicians from all parties should be fighting Scotland’s corner, but all Mr Cairns has done is justify demands for the Scotland Office to be abolished.

"I am backing the Scottish Governments demand that the Treasury take action - particularly given that official forecasts estimate a GBP4.9 billion tax windfall, which would rise to a GBP6.2 billion windfall at an oil price of 135 dollars a barrel.

"While David Cairns may not, at least the Chancellor has now accepted that there is an offshore tax windfall from Scotland's North Sea Oil, which is a substantial step forward from his previous position.

"Next, Ministers must accept that there is an onshore windfall from tax on higher road fuel prices - and that key measures such as announcing now the scrapping of the 2p October duty rise and establishing a fuel duty regulator will themselves help to keep the economy moving forward, and strengthen consumer demand throughout the whole economy."

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