Scotland politics

Scotland could be sixth richest in world, says Swinney

John Swinney
Image caption John Swinney repeated the call for a "Plan MacB"

Scotland would become the world's sixth richest country if it controled a geographical share of North Sea oil, the SNP's John Swinney has said.

In his keynote address to his party's conference, Mr Swinney said the UK government had been reaping the benefits of the resource for too long.

The finance secretary claimed Scotland was subsidising the rest of the UK.

He added: "Scotland contributes more to the UK in tax revenue than we get back in the UK public spending."

Mr Swinney told the conference: "The figures show that with a geographical share of our offshore resources, Scotland would be the sixth-wealthiest country in the world - 10 places ahead of the UK at 16th."

He believes that independence would give the Scottish Parliament the "normal powers enjoyed by nations across the world to deliver jobs and growth".

'Financial blackmail'

Mr Swinney contrasted his management of Scotland's finances with the "chaos and crisis" of the last Labour UK government, and accused the current Conservative-led government of "financial blackmail" over public sector pensions.

He repeated his attack on the UK government's "threat" to cut Scotland's budget if it delays implementation of increased pension contributions for public sector workers, which he wants to defer.

Mr Swinney said: "When public sector workers feel rightly angry at the raid on the pensions by the Tory-Lib Dem government, we should be able to take our decisions without the financial blackmail of the UK government."

He also repeated calls for a "Plan MacB" for the UK economy, and criticised Labour for its attacks on his financial confidence.

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