Salmond accused of being 'simply dishonest' over oil funds


Alex Salmond was accused of being "simply dishonest" over plans to set up two oil funds, during first minister's questions on 10 October 2013.

Labour and the Tories both attacked the SNP leader over the proposals, which could see cash from North Sea oil and gas revenues invested in two separate funds if there is a Yes vote in next year's independence referendum.

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont said advisory reports for ministers, which were released under Freedom of Information, showed that "the First Minister's own civil servants reported in March last year, and again in October, that an oil fund wouldn't work unless the First Minister either raises taxes or cuts spending."

She demanded to know: "Which is it, and when was he going to tell us?"

Mr Salmond said the more recent Scottish government's Fiscal Commission report had said an independent Scotland could start paying into an oil fund from 2017-18 and run two oil funds.

He said the report claimed an independent Scottish government could keep borrowing while starting to invest in an oil fund, provided that borrowing was kept under control.

Ms Lamont accused the first minister of being "simply dishonest when he talks about a stabilisation fund".

The Scottish Labour leader went on to say "honesty is not something this government deals in".

Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick asked Ms Lamont to withdraw both comments on both occasions.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson also attacked the government's oil fund plans saying the Fiscal Commission had just cut and pasted whole sections from the government's economic advisers' more critical report.

Ms Davidson said "all the good stuff made the grade all the bad stuff made the bin" and accused the first minister of trying to "hoodwink" the Scottish people into a yes vote in the independence referendum.

"It's the Alastair Campbell school of dodgy dossier writing", she said.

Mr Salmond hit back saying the commission had had access to all the civil servant research which explained why some passages were the same.

The first minister said: "The fundamental difficulty the unionist parties have with this is quite clear".

"They want the people of Scotland to believe having an asset whose estimated wholesale value over the next 40 years is £1.5 trillion is somehow a major encumbrance and disadvantage."

He said "Better Together should stop insulting the intelligence of Scotland" by saying the country's oil was a massive liability while trying to hang on to it at Westminster.

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