Scotland pins economic hope to oil, gas

Oct. 2, 2013 at 7:55 AM

EDINBURGH, Scotland, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- Investing portions of Scotland's oil and natural gas wealth will help ensure a vibrant economy is realized during independence, the government said Wednesday.

A working group report on economic stabilization and savings for Scotland outlines how it can best take advantage of its oil and natural gas reserves.

The Scottish government estimates there are nearly 24 billion barrels of recoverable oil and natural gas remaining in the North Sea. An independent Scotland would have the authority to determine what to do with those reserves.

Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney said Wednesday an independent Scotland could experience more economic growth through natural resources.

"In the long run, the economic levers available under independence will enable us to grow the Scottish economy more quickly and thereby boost tax revenues," he said in a statement. "Our ambition is therefore that, in time, a greater proportion of Scotland's oil and gas wealth be invested for the future as the country moves towards fiscal balance."

Scotland holds a referendum on independence next year. Its economy has slowed along with the rest of Europe's. Gross domestic product for the first quarter of 2013 grew 0.4 percent.

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