Following Denis Healey's revelations that Westminster parties
underplayed North Sea oil revenues in the 1970s to stop moves to
independence, further research by the SNP has revealed how the Tories
misled people in Scotland with promises to create an oil development
fund which they failed to deliver.

Page 64 of 'The end of British politics?: Scots and English political
behaviour in the seventies' by William Lockley Miller said that in the
October 1974 election the Tory manifesto promised a Scottish Oil
Development Fund which would use oil revenues "to finance additional
services in the areas affected by oil development as well as
abolishing road bridge tolls, providing new sports facilities
including a new Hampden Park and renovating out-of-date housing and
obsolete industry".

It said that all this was 'in addition to expenditure to which
Scotland as an integral member of the UK is entitled'.

Previous SNP research has highlighted how the anti-independence
parties' claims on the value of oil were underestimated with former
Labour Prime Minister James Callaghan predicting there would be “total
revenue yield from the North Sea, including gas, will approach £4bn a
year by the mid-1980s”. In reality by 1985 the revenue was three times
estimated at just over £12billion.

Commenting, SNP MSP for Aberdeen South and North Kincardine Maureen Watt said:

"Yet again this shows the lengths the Westminster parties went to, to
mislead the people of Scotland.

"We've had the McCrone report and we've had Denis Healey's revelations
which were proved correct as the estimates used by Jim Callaghan show.

"If the Tories could promise an oil development fund in 1974 why did
they not deliver it when they had the chance? Why don't they deliver
one now?

"It's just the same as their promise of better devolution if Scotland
voted No in 1979. That never transpired either.

"It just shows we cannot trust a word the anti-indpendence campaign
says and any promises they make now will only ring hollow with the
people of Scotland.

“I challenge the Tories to explain how we weren't misled on an oil fund.

“We have seen an historic 30-year high in investment in our oil and
gas industry, with £11.4billion invested last year – expected to rise
to at least £13bn this year.

"Only a Yes vote next September gives Scotland the opportunity to make
the next four decades of oil and gas work for our country and for
future generations.”

Copyright © Angus MacDonald MSP 2017

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