UK's BoP deficit would double without Scotland

Figures published by the SNP reveal the UK’s balance of payments deficit would double without Scotland’s major contributions to the Sterling Zone.

Mark McDonald, member of the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee, says this demonstrates the value an independent Scotland would have to a monetary union between Scotland and the rest of the UK in a Sterling area.

And he said these figures undermine Danny Alexander’s credibility and competence in his role as Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

Oil and Gas UK estimate that North Sea production boosted the UK’s balance of payments by £32 billion in 2010, almost halving the UK's deficit.

Mr McDonald, SNP MSP for North East Scotland, said:

“Without Scotland’s major contributions to the Sterling Zone, including whisky and North Sea oil and gas, the UK’s balance of payments deficit would double.

“It makes sense for both Scotland and the UK to maintain a Sterling Zone in an independent Scotland.

“Danny Alexander must be feeling pretty embarrassed to be shown up so soon after his other economically illiterate claims on mortgages, oil taxation and regional pay.

“He has boasted that the Treasury’s oil tax grab was his idea – which has threatened thousands of jobs across Scotland and jeopardised major investments in the North Sea oil industry.

“How can the people of Scotland trust a man whose economic credibility is crumbling further and further each day?”

Mr McDonald added:

“Only today the Scottish Index of Manufactured Exports shows that export sales grew by 4.2 per cent in real terms over the year to March.

“This is an incredible figure in such a tough economic climate, demonstrating the SNP Government’s hard work through its enterprise agencies in strengthening Scotland’s economic links in overseas markets.

“We have a booming food and drink sector, and are seeing significant growth in textiles, transport equipment, chemicals and mechanical engineering.

“The rest of the UK has as much – if not more – to gain from a monetary union as an independent Scotland would.”