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Scotland’s Budget Deficit Shrinks on Record North Sea Oil Money

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August 16, 2023

(Bloomberg) —

Scotland’s public spending deficit narrowed after revenue from North Sea oil more than tripled to a record.

The shortfall dropped to £19.1 billion, or 9% of gross domestic product, in the 2022-23 financial year, according to the Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland report published on Wednesday. That compares with 5.2% for the UK as a whole and a revised 12.8% for Scotland in the previous fiscal year. 

Income from the North Sea oil and gas industry rose by £6.9 billion during the financial year to £9.4 billion, the report said.

The GERS report estimates the difference between what Scotland raises in tax and what it spends to show to what degree taxpayers meet the cost of paying for public services. It shows figures including and excluding a geographical share of revenue from the North Sea. 

The findings have political significance as the Scottish National Party, which runs the semi-autonomous government in Edinburgh, pushes for another referendum on independence. The British government is refusing to allow one after 55% of voters in Scotland chose to remain in the UK in a plebiscite in September 2014.

© 2023 Bloomberg L.P.

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