Scotland says oil, greens, support independence

May 22, 2013 at 5:34 AM
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EDINBURGH, Scotland, May 22 (UPI) -- Scotland has the economic resources available to endure as an independent country in part because of its energy sector, First Minister Alex Salmond said.

Salmond introduced a 42-page paper -- "Scotland's Economy: The Case for Independence" -- arguing there are enough sources of income available to go it alone.

"Scotland has a strong onshore economy and vast offshore potential, as well as a highly educated workforce and world class technology and research," he said in a statement.

Salmond's government aims to have a referendum for independence from the United Kingdom next year.

The paper estimates that the Scottish oil and natural gas industry contributed about $39.5 billion to the gross domestic product in 2011. For renewables, an estimated 25 percent of the tidal and offshore wind resources in Europe lie within Scottish waters.

Salmond said Scotland lags behind other countries, however, in terms of long-term economic growth.

"The explanation for that rests in the fact that Scotland's economic strength is not yet in Scotland's hands," he said.

British Energy Secretary Ed Davey argued that Scotland could go it alone but wouldn't get the some of the subsidies that contribute to its economic growth.

"Scotland could go it alone. Just as the United Kingdom could go it alone outside the European Union," he said. "But in both cases our respective citizens would be less secure, less prosperous and less influential."

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