Scottish deficit almost £15bn amid plunging oil revenues

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Scotland's deficit was £14.8 billion for 2015/16 amid plummeting oil and gas revenues, according to new figures.

The Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) statistics show a deficit of £14.8 billion when a geographic share of North Sea revenues is allocated to Scotland.

That amounts to 9.5% of Scottish GDP, compared with the overall UK deficit of £75.3 billion - 4% of UK GDP.

North Sea revenue fell from £1.8 billion in 2014/15 to £60 million, reflecting a decline in total UK oil and gas revenues.

The figures also show Scotland's onshore revenues grew by £1.9 billion.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said "the foundations of our economy remain strong".

She said: "The lower oil price has, of course, reduced offshore revenues, with a corresponding impact on our fiscal position - this underlines the fact that Scotland's challenge is to continue to grow our onshore economy.

"However, Scotland's long-term economic success is now being directly threatened by the likely impact of Brexit.

"Today's figures come a day after analysis from the Scottish Government showed that taking Scotland out of the European Union and our place in the world's biggest single market would make the task of growing and diversifying the Scottish economy even harder."

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: "Scotland weathered a dramatic slump in oil revenues last year because we are part of a United Kingdom that has at its heart a system for pooling and sharing resources across the country as a whole.

"It is important that continues and the financial deal between the UK and Scottish governments, struck last year as part of the transfer of new tax and welfare powers to Holyrood, means real security for Scotland."

According to the latest report, Scotland's deficit in 2014/15 stood at £14.3 billion, 9.1% of Scottish GDP.

The figures also show that Scottish public sector revenue, including an illustrative geographic share of North Sea revenues, was estimated as £53.7 billion - the equivalent of £10,000 per person and about £400 per person lower than the UK average.

Meanwhile, public spending in Scotland totalled £68.6 billion.

This is equivalent to 9.1% of total UK public sector expenditure, and £12,800 per person, which is £1,200 per person greater than the UK average.