(Reuters) - Here is some background about Scotland and its possible bid for independence from Britain as Alex Salmond, first minister in Scotland, laid out his plans for an independence referendum in defiance of British government proposals.
- In 2010, Britain produced 2.2 million barrels of oil and gas equivalent (boe) per day, making it the second largest oil, and third largest gas, producer in Europe. The industry employs 440,000 people, 45 percent of them in Scotland.
- In a geographical calculation, any oil or gas produced within Scotland’s sea area is claimed as Scottish, and, according to this calculation, Scotland produced 5.9 billion pounds ($9.04 billion) of the UK’s 6.5 billion pounds of North Sea oil revenues in 2009-2010, or 91.4 percent.
- Figures produced by the Scottish government offer different calculations, according to whether North Sea oil revenue is included in its accounts.
- If North Sea oil is excluded or distributed per capita, Scotland ran a deficit of 12-13 percent on its current budget balance in 2010. But if North Sea revenues are added according to their geographical distribution, the deficit was 6.8 percent of GDP in 2010 after being close to zero for the previous four years.
- Slightly more than 40 billion boe has so far been recovered from the UK’s continental shelf.
- Oil and Gas UK says between 14 billion and 24 billion boe has yet to be recovered, according to its 2011 report.
- If Scotland left the United Kingdom, the withdrawal of 41 Scottish Labour MPs and one Conservative MP would give Conservatives an instant 89-seat majority in the House of Commons (lower house) in London. The number of Labour MPs would drop to 215 from 256, Conservatives to 304 from 305.
- Scotland had an employment rate of 71.9 percent, the highest employment rate of the four countries in Britain, in April-June 2011.
- Edinburgh is the eighth biggest financial centre in Europe and the 29th biggest in the world, on a par with Dubai. London is ranked top.
- Scottish adults each bought 11.8 litres of pure alcohol in 2010 on average, 23 percent more than in England and Wales.
- Scotland has the lowest life expectancy at birth within Britain. Male life expectancy is 2.4 years lower than the UK average and female life expectancy is 1.9 years lower.
- Salmond wants to ask the question ‘Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?’
Salmond has also said he wants to include an option, known as “devo max” which would devolve further powers from the British parliament without outright independence.
The London government wants a simple “yes/no” ballot.
- The SNP wants to hold the referendum in late 2014 to coincide with high profile events that could boost its support. Scotland is hosting the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and golf’s Ryder Cup at Gleneagles that year.
- 2014 is the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn when Scotland, led by Robert the Bruce, defeated an English army under Edward II. It is also 80 years since the SNP’s foundation.
- More than 40 million people worldwide are estimated to have Scots ancestry.
Sources: Reuters/www.homecomingscotland2009.com/www.scotland.gov.uk/www.h althscotland.com/here://www.oilandgasuk.co.uk/www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/ althscotland.com/here://www.oilandgasuk.co.uk/www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/ Doc/352173/0118332.pdf
Reporting by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit; Additional writing by Naomi O'Leary