England needs Scots energy says Salmond on visit to Inverness
SCOTLAND’S First Minister Alex Salmond said in Inverness on Saturday, that England’s lights would go out without the large and growing supply of renewable energy generated in the Highlands.
The SNP leader was hitting back after Better Together campaign leader Alistair Darling came to the city last week and claimed independence for Scotland would force up energy bills for Scottish households.
The former chancellor of the exchequer said the rest of the UK would not need Scotland to secure its energy supply and warned the value of Scotland’s oil reserves plunged by £4.5 billion last year, the equivalent of the country’s schools budget.
He said: "If Scotland was on its own, if you suddenly had a drop in oil revenues, it would mean there would be public spending cuts which would make austerity that we have now pale into insignificance.2
But Mr Salmond said Mr Darling should "quit the doom and gloom" because the reality was that supplies of electricity in the UK were tight and Scotland was the most viable source and Scotland had 60 per cent of Europe’s oil supply.
"Scotland’s renewables are more competitive than many other source," he said. "What are they going to do if they don’t import Scotland’s renewables? The lights in England would go out in two years without it."
He added: "in a nutshell, Scotland has just one per cent of the EU population but that one per cent has 20 per cent of the fish stocks, 25 per cent of the marine renewable potential and 60 per cent of the oil reserves."
He said the atmosphere in Scotland right now was something to be celebrated.
"Up and down the country I’m meeting literally hundreds of people who say they’ve never voted before and they are about to vote for the first time," he said. "This is the first time that voting for them really matters because Scotland’s future is in Scotland’s hands. Mr Darling never finds anything to get excited about. He should quit the doom and gloom."
During his visit to the city, Mr Salmond spent time with members of the Inverness Muslim community at the Masjid Mosque at Portland Place in Inverness.
"I visit mosques all over the place but there is a particular significance at the present moment," he said. "The one thing we can do in this troubled international environment is to make sure that all the communities in Scotland are treated with respect. The Jewish community in Scotland are not responsible for the politics of the government in Israel. The same as Muslims in Britain are not responsible for the terrorism of the Islamic State."