Exclusive, 14 September 2014
Massive £1 billion tax breaks given to big oil companies in the North Sea every year should be diverted to renewable energy and improving social services under independence, says a new report from the Scottish Green Party.
The party has made the first estimate of all the UK government’s subsidies provided to oil and gas corporations to encourage development. A complex web of allowances and tax relief rewards them with at least £1.15bn annually, it reckons, equivalent to £190 for every Scot.
This sum of money could be used to employ 25,000 extra teachers or 28,000 extra nurses, or to fund 25 hours a week of free childcare for every three and four year old in Scotland, the party points out. Instead of fuelling private company profits, it could be invested in publically-owned wind and solar schemes.
In a bid to radically alter the terms of the conventional oil arguments, the Scottish Green Party is also publishing a second report today urging that oil companies be taken into public ownership, as in Norway. Oil extraction should also be slowed down to help minimise disruption to the world’s climate, the report says.
According to the Green MSP, Patrick Harvie, the huge public subsidy given to multinational oil companies had been overlooked until now. “Now that figure's out in the open we should consider the logic of continuing such massive tax breaks,” he said.