Alex Russell, Professor of Petroleum Accounting at Robert Gordon University, and Peter Strachan, Professor of Energy Policy, said responsibility for the North Sea fiscal regime should be transferred to Scotland – along with calls for Scotland to play a leading role in setting UK-wide energy policy and having greater responsibilities over renewable energy.
On Wednesday, Prof. Anton Muscatelli, principal of Glasgow University, said voters in Scotland now have “a greater appetite for additional devolution” and that “oil and gas taxation is geographically well-defined, and could be devolved.
Professors Russell and Strachan said: “There is no reason why Holyrood should not have full responsibility for tax-raising from oil and gas production, especially where vast economic assets lie in already-established territorial waters.”
“Scotland should also play a leading role in setting UK-wide energy policy and assisting Westminster in overseeing regulation. Scotland’s voice at the industry regulator Ofgem should be increased to that of a full partner, a co-driver in energy oversight – right now Scotland is not even a backseat passenger.”
They also highlight the necessity of greater Scottish control over renewables, adding that: “There is no getting away from the fact that the Scottish government is much more committed to renewables while England is keener on nuclear power.
“The only way to allow both countries to pursue their own individual policy goals, while having a properly joined-up approach to national energy security, is to give Scotland greater say in these areas.”
SNP MSP Maureen Watt commented: “This is a substantial and constructive contribution to the debate on Scotland’s future from two well respected industry experts – and only adds to the growing consensus that revenue from Scotland’s vast natural resources should be in Scotland’s pocket, rather than Westminster’s.
“The Westminster parties promised extensive new economic powers for Scotland in their Vow before the referendum – and now that the experts are lining up to back the devolution of energy policy, there are no excuses not to deliver.
“Polls show that the vast majority of people in Scotland support the devolution of oil and gas revenue – and it’s not difficult to see why.
“For decades successive Westminster governments have simply used our North Sea resources as a cash cow. With control over taxation and licensing in Scotland’s hands, we can ensure we extract maximum benefit from our natural resources – and will see the revenue benefit the people of Scotland, rather than flowing to the Treasury in London.”