‘Perfectly reasonable’ for oil revenues to fund just transition – Slater

The Scottish Greens co-leader discussed the upcoming prospectus on Scottish independence.

14 October 2022

It is “perfectly reasonable” for oil revenues to fund the just transition to renewable energy in an independent Scotland, Greens co-leader Lorna Slater has said.

The Scottish Government minister was asked about the £20 billion investment fund which will form part of the upcoming prospectus for independence.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said the Building a New Scotland Fund will be set up with remaining oil revenues and the use of borrowing powers during the first decade of independence.

The third paper in the Scottish Government’s series, which aims to make a refreshed case around the economics of Scottish independence, is due to be released next week.

Oil rigs – Cromarty Firth
Nicola Sturgeon’s proposed fund would involve oil revenues (Jane Barlow/PA)

The Scottish Green Party, whose two leaders are Government ministers under a co-operation agreement with the SNP, is holding its conference in Dundee this weekend.

Ahead of the event, Ms Slater told the PA news agency: “The paper that will be presented by the Scottish Government will have Green influence.

“It’s clear that the Greens would want to go further and be more progressive.

“But I don’t think that these things are incompatible.”

Ms Slater said her party would produce its own more “radical” vision for an independent Scotland in addition to the Government papers.

She continued: “It is really clear that oil and gas will be phased out.

“Nobody is suggesting we can or should turn the taps off right away but it is perfectly reasonable for the oil and gas money to be used to fund a just transition.

“That makes perfect sense to me.

“It makes sense to use that revenue as that industry is phased out to fund that transition to fully renewable and net-zero industries in Scotland.

“We have huge potential for developing renewable energy in Scotland.

“Unfortunately, we are hindered by the fact that we are tied to Westminster at the moment and don’t have full powers to invest in our renewable resources and other industries the way we would like, which is part of the reason why we want independence.”

Referendum on Scottish independence
Lorna Slater said it is ‘totally unreasonable’ for Westminster to withhold powers for indyref2 (David Cheskin/PA)

Earlier this week, the Scottish Government’s law officer – the Lord Advocate – made arguments in the Supreme Court around Holyrood’s competence to legislate for a second independence referendum.

In the event the court rules against the Scottish Government, the First Minister has said she would treat the next general election as a “de facto referendum”.

Ms Slater said it was “totally unreasonable” for Westminster to withhold the legal powers for another referendum.

She said: “The arguments made this week by the Lord Advocate were brilliant and really clear on why Scotland should be able to exercise its right to self-determination – that’s a fundamental human right.

“But if we are forced into the position where the people of Scotland do not have any other option for expressing their democratic will, then yes, in that case, the Scottish Greens would also stand as a one-issue, general election campaign on Scottish independence.

“Because the people of Scotland deserve the right to have a say in their own future.”

She said the Greens would always stand its own candidates in constituencies, but stressed such a scenario remains “highly speculative”.

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