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Scotland Says Finances Stronger Than U.K. as Oil Boosts Budget

Scotland’s finances are stronger than those of the U.K., with a narrower budget deficit to the tune of 824 pounds ($1,240) per person because of oil and gas revenue, Finance Secretary John Swinney said.

Scotland contributed 9.9 percent of U.K. taxes in the 2011-2012 financial year and received 9.3 percent of all public spending, according to the Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland report published in Edinburgh today. The numbers were calculated on the basis of Scotland having a geographical share of North Sea oil and gas revenue.

“This demonstrates beyond any doubt that Scotland more than pays her way in the U.K.,” Swinney said in an e-mailed statement. “Over the last year our stronger fiscal position would have seen Scotland better off.”

Greater control of North Sea oil and gas taxes and the ability to use the revenue to boost the Scottish economy is a key plank in the Scottish National Party’s campaign for independence. The SNP, which runs the semi-autonomous government in Edinburgh, wants full control over the country’s finances and plans a referendum for the fall of 2014.

Scotland would have had a current budget deficit of 2.3 percent of gross domestic product in the 2011-2012 financial year compared with the U.K.’s 6 percent, according to the report. On a per-capita share of North Sea revenue, Scotland’s budget deficit would have been 10.2 percent of GDP.

Oil and gas revenue rose 28 percent in 2011-2012 to 11.3 billion pounds. It is still 13 percent below the record 12.9 billion pounds generated in 2008-2009.

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