Government Expenditure and Revenue in Scotland (GERS) in relation to oil & gas revenue: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

You asked for:

1. Who appoints the Scottish Government statisticians that produce the GERS figures? Are they chosen by the Scottish Parliament, or by the UK Parliament?

2. Is the Scottish First Minister given full access to the UK's oil and gas revenue accounts, or are you told Scotland's oil and gas revenue figures by Westminster?

3. Is the oil and gas extracted in Scotland, and used by the rest of the UK, calculated and accounted for in our GERS figures?

4. According to oil and gas industry documents, the UK saved 20 billion pounds from not having to import oil and gas, and using its own resources. With Scotland's deficit only being reduced by 1.43 billion pounds (Scotland has 96% share of oil and gas, and 63% of natural gas). Where has the rest of the 20 billion pounds been allocated?

5. In 2013, the UK government released a document stating that the oil and gas industry reduced their balance of payments by almost 50 billion pounds. However in 2013, according to the GERS figures, the Scottish deficit was only reduced by 396 million when the North Sea was included. With over 90% of oil and gas production that year being in Scotland, where has the rest of the 50 billion in savings been allocated?


The answer to your questions are provided in turn below:

1. The Scottish Government statisticians are appointed by the Scottish Government’s Chief Statistician, and are ultimately accountable to Scottish Ministers and the Scottish Parliament.

2. The Scottish Government uses figures provided by HMRC for Scottish oil and gas revenue. These are similar to figures produced by Professor Alex Kemp, Professor of Petroleum Economics and Director of the Aberdeen Centre for Research in Energy Economics and Finance at the University of Aberdeen.

3. Yes. All tax revenue from oil and gas extracted in Scotland is included in GERS figures, regardless of where it is consumed.

4. and 5. GERS shows public sector revenue and expenditure. It does not report wider economic activity such as imports, exports, the trade balance, or the wider balance of payments. Information on the impact of oil and gas on Scotland’s balance of trade can be found in the Whole of Scotland Economic Accounts statistics, available at the link below:

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Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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