Thursday, February 28, 2008

THE MYSTERY OF THE £450 BILLION NEST EGG


Photo from: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Royston.jpg

Some sensible countries have sovereign wealth funds.

That means nest eggs resulting from oil revenues.

Countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar have very large sovereign wealth funds.

These funds are being used to buy Britain's Chelsea Barracks, iron mines in Mauritania, an urban-development scheme in southern Malaysia, an oil refinery in Bangladesh, resorts in Morocco, upmarket housing projects in Cairo, Damascus, Hyderabad, Istanbul and Karachi, a resort city on Egypt's Red Sea coast, a fancy suburb for Tunis, office towers in Cairo and Khartoum, resorts in Syria, Morocco and the Seychelles... (Cash is going to the poor, too )

1. Scotland could have had one of the world's biggest sovereign wealth funds, as a result of North Sea oil.

2. This is according to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (Sovereign wealth funds likened to Gazprom as Brussels calls for rules ) which refers to a £450 billion nest egg.

This nest egg is bigger than those of Kuwait, Russia and Qatar combined.

Norway has a £322 billion fund.

3. The study shows that Scotland's oil wealth was used to cut UK taxes and boost UK spending.

In other words, Scotland's oil wealth helped Thatcher and Blair to (A) cut the taxes of the rich folks living in the South East of England and (B) spend more on things like the Dome and the Iraq War.

4. Parts of Scotland suffer from Third World poverty and are in desperate need of investment.

Male life expectancy in Dalmarnock, Calton, Kinning Park and Townhead is below 60.

(Poverty and inequality, the increasing socio-economic divide in ... / In Iraq, life expectancy is 67. Minutes from Glasgow city centre ...)

5. The Herald, 2 November 2007, has demonstrated that Scotland pays its own way, unlike many parts of England. (Scotching the myth // Why the figures being peddled by Scotland’s critics just don’t add up)

Public Spending in Scotland - £9631 per head

Public Spending in London - £9748 per head

The tax take from Scotland - £49 billion

Total public spending in Scotland - £49 billion

Scotland brings in £9593 per head in tax - more than anywhere in the UK outside London.

London's Crossrail project is to cost £16 billion - seven and a half times the annual Scottish transport budget.

The 2012 Olympics is to be in London.

Tax per head and public spending per head in thousands of pounds (figures rounded down):

Scotland

Tax 9

Spending 9

North East of England

Tax 6

Spending 10

North West of England

Tax 6

Spending 8

Yorkshire and Humberside

Tax 6

Spending 8

6. Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond says that if Scotland is given direct control of North Sea oil and gas it could be the third-wealthiest country in Europe and the sixth-richest in the world. ‘Challenge to the party is to inspire a generation’

Salmond has pointed out that England, particularly London, benefits heavily from spending on UK departments such as defence and the Treasury. Let us control North Sea oil - Salmond

7. At least half of Scotland's oil wealth remains in the North Sea.

There is still time for Scotland to be rich.


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