By Martin Kelly
A leading figure from the No campaign, who said that Norway relies on high taxes in order to pay for its oil fund, is being urged to issue a correction after Norway’s Finance Ministry dismissed his claim.
SNP MSP Maureen Watt has accused Better Together campaign chief Blair McDougall of “peddling more misinformation” after he said that Norway could only afford an oil fund because it has “much, much higher taxes” than Scotland.

Speaking recently on Radio Clyde, Mr McDougall told listeners that: “Norway affords paying into its oil fund because it has much, much higher taxes than we have here in Scotland.”

The Better Together official also claimed that the UK Treasury doesn’t benefit from North Sea revenue, and added: “Every single penny of the oil taxes we get out of the north sea goes on public services in Scotland already,”

However Mr McDougall’s claim that higher taxes were needed in order to establish a fund were dismissed by the Norwegian Ministry of Finance.  A spokesman said that all revenues from the country’s oil and gas resource go into the so-called oil fund, regardless of the income tax raised by the Norwegian Government.

Asked to confirm whether Mr McDougall’s comments were accurate, the spokesman said:

“According to OECD data Norway has higher total tax revenue as a percentage of GDP than does the United Kingdom. See

“Norway has a system where all petroleum (oil and gas) revenues are transferred to the Government Pension Fund Global, irrespective of total Government revenue.  Every year, the Norwegian parliament approves a budget which states how much should be transferred from the Fund over the budget.

“Over time we expect this number to be around 4% of the Fund value – irrespective of the size of Norway’s total budget revenue.  This is reflected in the so called Fiscal Policy Rule.”

The Fiscal Policy Rule limits the amount any Norwegian Government can use from the fund in order to spend in the Norwegian economy.

The Norwegian Finance Ministry official added: “It is therefore not the Norwegian government’s tax take as such, which determines how much Norway saves in the Fund.”

The comments from Mr McDougall brought a stinging rebuke from SNP MSP Maureen Watt who accused the Better Together chief of “peddling more misinformation.”

Challenging Mr McDougall to issue a correction, Ms Watt added: “Blair McDougall has been caught out peddling more misinformation from the anti-independence campaign.

“The onus is now on Mr McDougall to take the opportunity to correct his inaccurate remarks.”

Norway’s oil fund is envied the world over.  Since being set up in 1990 it has grown to a staggering $930 billion and has risen fifty per cent in value since 2012.  This month it emerged that every person in Norway was now a theoretical Kroner millionaire with the fund owning over one per cent of all the stock in the world.

[We have been asked to point out that the statement on the Norwegian Oil Fund was issued on behalf of the Norwegian Finance Ministry and should not have been attributed to Wilhelm Mohn specifically.  We have also added a sentence from the original statement on tax revenue as a percentage of GDP initially not included in the original article.]


2014-01-28 20:45

There are no limits to the depth to which Blair McDougall will sink.

This is just another pathetic lie – exposed as such almost from the moment it left his odious lips.
2014-01-28 21:16

There are lies, damn lies and statistics…then there are the utterings of Better Together.
2014-01-28 22:00

I take it Blair McDougall didnt get the memo, you know the one saying BT bullshit is still not working.

I bet the treasury will be mightly surprised to find out they do not receive any benefit from North sea oil.

But if you are going to tell lies I suppose you may as well tell whoppers.
call me dave
2014-01-28 22:03

Oh dear another attempt to misinform the Scottish people. Before the internet this would never have been countered and exposed to the ordinary public.

Scotland has many friends throughout the world waiting in the wings to usher us onto the stage as an independent country.

They’re wondering why it’s taking us so long to get into the spotlight.
2014-01-28 22:18

It’s sickening, It’s their plan seed the misinformation and even if they have to retract or correct themselves it’s too late the lie is heard and taken in. We will have another 8 months of this and it will not stop and MSM will aid them.
2014-01-28 22:25

Congratulations to Maureen Watt of the SNP. Time a few of her colleagues grew some backbone and started to confront the deceit of Anti-Independence Holyrood MSP’s by asking the questions challenging their assertions.
Mad Jock McMad
2014-01-28 22:33

Leaves you just wondering where the £40 billion + of extra-territorial income that comes from the North Sea goes every year?

There was me thinking it turns up in the UK Treasury Accounts without touching Scotland so either the UK Treasury is telling us big fibs or this numpty has no clue about what he is talking about …. hmmmmmm! Difficult choice ..
2014-01-28 23:08

Sorry, but Mr McDougall caught telling porkies is a grain of sand beside the enormity of this catastrophic issue of our oil fund.
How many times are we told that London is global centre of finance? What, is that some kind of sick joke? Quiet little Norway turns its people into millionaires, but the genius of London delivers a £1.4 Trillion deficit! Pardon the language, but WTF do we have to show for £1.3 Trillion? And people complain about the price of the beer in Norway? I feel like smacking my head against a wall. Lets stop comparing the cost of living in the UK & Norway, and just jail the cretins who are £2 Trillion more STUPID than the Norwegians.
Flower of Scotland
2014-01-28 23:35

Yes I would like to congratulate Maureen Watt of the SNP too .We have to stand up and confront these BT people that tell lies about the oil . No wonder London is the centre of everything and we are losing everything !
2014-01-28 23:54

“Every single penny of the oil taxes we get out of the north sea goes on public services in Scotland already.”

Somehow I don’t think so Mr MacDougall. Otherwise we would be in surplus – oh wait a minute. We are, but being so generous are we, that we think Westminster can take this embarassment off our hands.
2014-01-29 12:42

We are, but being so generous are we, that we think Westminster can take this embarassment off our hands.

Edulis – it’s known as “pool and share”.

call me dave
2014-01-29 00:09


SG visit Bathgate answering questions in public. Longish but pleasant intro, some nice glimpses of Scotland, worth it.

Starts 2min 30secs in for those who have seen all of Scotland #:o)…/
Flower of Scotland
2014-01-29 00:48

Thanks for that , call me dave . Wonder why BBC Scotland didn’t televise some of it . Sorry about sarcasm .
Like your work Newsnet !
2014-01-29 04:25

No Mr McDougall will issue no correction or retraction. He’s fired off his sound bite and has long since moved onto constructing his next strategy. The fact he has misrepresented the affairs of another government will have bothered him not at all.

It should bother Better Together support that he is not only willing to do such a thing, but that they are supposed to repeat it. How do they fondly imagine the Norwegian govt. look upon this?
2014-01-29 06:53

Not quite OT.
Did anyone see “Scotland’s Smoking Gun” on BBC2 last night?
And if you did? Did you notice the use of pejorative language? “so who’s to blame for this referendum?” The omission of the McCrone report,the omission of the death of Willie MacRae,the attempt to suggest that the desire for the restoration of Scotland is coincidental with the discovery of oil and the SNP are only voted for in times of strife,the claim that the only reason we got Thatcher was the SNP MPs vote,the collapse of Labour at Holyrood is because Dewar died and all their big guns stayed in London,the overall feeling that it was an hour long party political broadcast for the Labour Party?

Perhaps someone,far more eloquent and familiar with BBC rules,could put it to the BBC that once again they’re being biased in their coverage?
2014-01-29 08:53

Must admit to not watching it. The BBC are now so discredited in my eyes, it didn’t occur to me that it would be anything other than a party political broadcast.

I’d say Mr MacWhirter’s road to referendum was pretty even handed and more worth the looksee.…/
2014-01-29 09:09

Watched it and agree 100%. Business as usual at Pacific Quay, it seems, especially with all “pre” coverage this morning of the Carney talks happening now and his speech later today – Sky covering at 13:15 GMT.

PS: BBC website now has a 3-part article on the £ issue at…/… – somewhat less unbalanced than their broadcast reporting.

2014-01-29 09:21

Best way to counter this is distribution of the Yes newspaper, help manning Yes stalls, and door to door leafleting.
Get in touch with your local Yes group and join in.
call me dave
2014-01-29 09:58

A summary of the main debating points from Business for Scotland. Well worth a look.…/
2014-01-29 10:45

I guess that the currency debate will be topical today and through the week.
Firstly, through the so-called Euro-crisis I don’t recall anybody anywhere suggesting that the Euro doesn’t work as a currency union for those countries whose economies are reasonably well-aligned. So just as there is no issue between Germany, Holland, Belgium etc etc, there will be no major difficulty for Scotland and rUK.
Secondly throughout the whole history of the Euro – pre-crisis, mid-crisis, post-crisis, the Euro has gone up a wee bit some months and down a wee bit some months.
However, no doubt we’ll hear the BBC talk about potential disasters!
2014-01-29 11:52


Brilliant article by Gerry Hassan in today’s Scottish Review on the subject of the Scotophobia rife in London.

I would hope that Newsnet will carry said article.

However, I hold absolutely no hope that it will be mentioned by our wonderfully unbiased broadcast and print media.

The thought of Gerry being interviewed on the subject by Brewer is as likely as
Project Fear coming up with a single good reason for remaining in The Union.
2014-01-29 12:38

Thanks for that gus.

For others you can get the article here:…/

On the Smoking Gun programme last night, I found it shallow and a trivialisation of the independence movement. From the way the programme presented it you’d think the indepedndence movement only popped out the box in the last 50 years. Nothing of the 250 years before that when many in Scotland have fought to get our country back.

PS I’ll put the link over on Wings, too.

2014-01-29 12:29

Regarding all the mainly negative media coverage of the independence debate, giving undue airtime to the likes of McDougall, Curran, Darling, Murphy, et al, thank goodness for the YES SCOTLAND movement. They are the foot soldiers, spreading the word and the positive message on the ground, so to speak.

In contrast, Better Together are acting like the Americans in Vietnam, carpet bombing from a safe height with lectures from Westminster based unionist politicians, and no subsequent Q and A debate allowed.
McGillicuddy Dreams
2014-01-29 12:38

It is not common knowledge to us Scots that the oil fund in Norway, to my limited understanding , cannot be used to prop up the countrys finances as the Nowegian economy would overheat. 97% approx is used to invest worldwide , always outside Norway , and the accumulative profit guarantees pensions for all Norwegians in the very least. Scottish folks like myself must then realise that the oil fund has been used within the UK economy as the UK economy is severely lacking. We must also realise that if Scotlands economy is severely lacking to begin with then the oil will be invested in jobs until a time when the economy is not severely lacking. So oil is only our guarantee and is not the answer long term. Scotland will have an oil fund once more of our fellow Scots are working.
2014-01-29 12:48

Another O/T but maybe NNS could have a look at this.
Scots business will suffer from loss of patent court.It seems that a new Unitary Patent Court will have four divisions but none in Scotland is this another thing being taken away.
2014-01-29 20:52

A telling comment this afternoon from our MSP Kenneth Gibson, and I paraphrase:

When it comes to paying Scotland’s share of the National Debt presumably rUK will ask for it to be paid in pounds sterling.

2014-01-29 20:56

Has anybody noticed how under the cosh Darling is looking these days? He’s like a rabbit in the headlights and now has to answer questions from London reporters that don’t fawn after him like some of the Scots like Brewer who give him an easy time. He’s a one-man band who’s own Labour party is divided and uneasy with his alliance with the Tories. Look for more Labour defections to YES as the polls narrow.
call me dave
2014-01-29 22:14

Well I never heard Mr Carney say there would be no shared currency.

Edit moved post to new thread.

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