UK says Scotland’s share of tax receipts falls

The Scotland-generated share of UK tax receipts fell from 8.1% in 2014-15 to 7.7% in 2015-16, according to official statistics published by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

The UK Government said the fall was due mainly to a combination of low oil prices and decommissioning expenditure which resulted in negative North Sea revenues in 2015/16.

The UK Government’s Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell said: “These figures again highlight how being part of the UK protects living standards in Scotland.

“Scotland weathered a dramatic slump in oil revenues because we are part of a United Kingdom that has at its heart a system for pooling and sharing resources across the country as a whole.

“It is important that continues and the financial deal between the UK and Scottish governments, struck last year as part of the transfer of new tax and welfare powers to Holyrood, means real security for Scotland.

“The United Kingdom, not the European Union, is the vital union for Scotland’s prosperity.

“Today’s figures also show the importance of providing real support for the oil and gas industry.

“In the last two budgets we have announced radical packages of tax measures worth £2.3 billion to help continued investment in the North Sea.

“No other government has made such extensive tax changes in response to falling oil prices.”

Last week, trade body Oil & Gas UK said about 330,000 jobs across the UK are still currently supported by the offshore oil and gas industry, down from a peak of about 450,000 jobs in 2014.

But Oil & Gas UK chief executive Deirdre Michie said the Scottish and UK Governments need to lead campaigns for fresh investment in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).

The report said £330 billion had been paid in corporate taxes since production began on the (UKCS).

More than 43 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) have been recovered since first production in 1967 and UK Oil & Gas believes there are still between 10 billion and 20 billion more to be recovered.

The report from the trade body said industry efficiencies are driving a 45% drop in the cost of extracting a barrel of oil or gas from the UKCS.

It said production was up by 10.4% in 2015, the first increase in 15 years, but that major challenges remain, with record low exploration and a lack of capital investment.

Nonetheless, Oil & Gas UK said the report demonstrated the tenacity of the UK offshore oil and gas industry despite difficult market conditions.