Commenting on David Miliband’s recent comments when he admitted Labour’s failure to set up an oil fund like Norway’s – a scheme supported by the SNP – Dundee West MSP Joe FitzPatrick – a member of the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee – said: “These comments are an embarrassment to the Labour party in Scotland and show they have learnt nothing from the 1980s.
“Yet again we see Labour politicians regret not setting up the means to forestall the negative effects a London Tory government will have on Scotland.
The Labour Leadership contender had said that under Mrs Thatcher the public benefits of North Sea Oil were used for tax cuts – often to benefit the richest. The Norwegians used theirs to build a sovereign wealth fund. ‘But we did not learn the lesson,’ he concluded.
The Labour leadership contender’s remarks come as reports of another boom in North Sea oil are forecast.
Commenting further, Joe FitzPatrick said: “In the 1980s it was their failure to implement Scottish devolution and the resulting devastation the Tories caused to Scotland’s economy.
“Now we have Labour repeating history again with this admission that they should have set up an oil fund. It’s not as if they weren’t warned. Labour’s Malcolm Wicks suggested they set one up in 2007.
“This is just another example of how Labour cannot be trusted to protect Scotland from a London Tory government. When they have the chance to put in the place the means to avoid the worst excesses of a Tory government they fail to do so and then they pretend they should have implemented those policies.
“They are taking the voters for fools if they think they can get away with their empty oppositionalism again.
“As the latest reports on another oil bonanza show it’s Scotland’s oil and gas industry which is the only thing keeping the London Treasury afloat. Over the next few years, billion worth of North Sea revenues will flow to the London exchequer to shore up the UK’s precarious finances.
“In the 1970s requests for an oil fund were turned down by a Labour government – the repetition of this failure by Labour in the 21st century is unforgivable.”