LONDON, April 8 Britain on Tuesday warned Scots
that voting for independence would put jobs and investment in
the Scottish energy industry at risk, threatening the commercial
viability of North Sea oil and gas fields and renewable energy
In September Scotland will hold an referendum on whether to
sever its 307-year tie with England, with Scottish nationalists
arguing that a split would give them greater economic freedom.
The British government wants to keep the union intact and
has produced a series of analysis papers arguing its case on
issues such as the currency, security and finance.
The latest paper, due to be released on Wednesday, will say
that independence would deter investment in low-carbon renewable
energy and make it unprofitable for firms to extract
increasingly hard-to-reach oil and gas in the seas off Scotland.
"I fear the economic and energy progress will be seriously
affected by the uncertainty and disruption of independence, as
investors will hold onto their cash rather than risk it," Energy
Secretary Ed Davey said ahead of the report's release.
A government briefing note said that Britain's wide tax base
meant it could afford to offer incentives which made it
profitable for firms to tap into dwindling oil and gas reserves,
generating investment and creating thousands of jobs.
It also said Scotland accounted for 10 percent of
electricity sales in Britain, but received 28 percent of
consumer-funded subsidies that support renewable energy.
"The reality of independence is that Scottish low carbon
energy is unlikely to be able to rely on the current levels of
financial support provided by all UK energy bill payers," the
briefing note said.
The government also warned that an independent Scotland
would have to compete with other countries to sell electricity
into England and Wales.
Speaking earlier on Tuesday Alex Salmond, the
pro-independence leader of the Scottish National Party, said
Scotland was the most energy-rich nation in the European Union
on a per-head basis.
"Independence would give responsibility for Scotland's
natural resources to the people who are most likely to harness
them wisely - the people who live and work in Scotland," he
"It would allow us to adopt policies which meet our
priorities and specialisms. That would benefit Scotland, and it
would also benefit our energy industry."
(Reporting by William James and Karolin Schaps; Editing by