Page last updated at 11:13 GMT, Thursday, 5 June 2008 12:13 UK

Salmond reiterates oil fund call

oil platform
Oil continues to flow from North Sea fields

First Minister Alex Salmond has reiterated his call for Scotland to benefit from Treasury revenue generated through rising oil prices.

He wants a long term oil fund to be set up, using 10% of an additional 4.4bn expected to come from fuel tax.

Mr Salmond also called for the introduction of a fuel price regulator.

However, Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks accused the first minister of using the issue to advance the SNP's case for Scottish independence.

He said North Sea oil revenues were a UK resource which benefited the whole of the UK.

Alex Salmond
From a Scottish point of view, this is the moment when we must start an oil fund
Alex Salmond
First Minister

Mr Wicks added: "The tax revenues go into all the things people will understand, improving the National Health Service, better education, schools, all of those things.

"Of course Scotland benefits from that.

"I guess Alex is trying to use this as another opportunity to try to re-write the whole debate about devolution and his case for Scottish independence."

But Mr Salmond has argued that concessions of the type he was seeking could also help public services.

Stamp duty

The SNP politician told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme: "Right across government and local government, there won't be a public service that's not affected by high energy bills and the chancellor can do something about it if he uses the windfall to ease the pressure.

"And secondly, from a Scottish point of view, this is the moment when we must start an oil fund."

Mr Salmond said an oil fund in Norway was now approaching 180bn, while the Canadian province of Alberta had a fund of around 8bn.

He said a similar scheme for Scotland would make a start on building up an investment fund to "power the Scottish economy in the future".

He also believes a fuel price regulator would sustain growth and help businesses like hauliers and fishermen.

Chancellor Alistair Darling has already rejected the idea of using extra North Sea revenues to ease the impact of rising fuel prices, arguing that government revenues have to be treated "in the round" and other tax revenues - such as stamp duty - could fall.

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