North Sea oil is dragging UK into the red

This is a very interesting article and talks about the huge influence North Sea Oil has had over the last few decades on the UK government and economic activity. The Deposits are in decline and it will definitely have a huge effect on British Deficits in the future.

North Sea oil is dragging us into the red
Oil wealth was the secret saviour of the economy, but no longer, says Edmund Conway.EPA Our black gold is dragging us into the red

What was the industry that powered Britain towards prosperity in the 1980s, and made us one of the most dynamic and successful nations in the Western world? I’ll give you a clue: it was described by a prime minister as “God’s gift” to the British economy; its revenue stream pumped ever larger amounts of cash into the Exchequer – and its subsequent collapse has helped send the public finances spiralling towards disaster.

If your first reaction was “the City”, think again. The answer is North Sea oil. One of the peculiarities of British politics – and economics – is the reluctance to take into account the critical contribution of oil to the economy. We spend so much time droning on about our excessive reliance on the financial sector that we tend to ignore this elephant in the room. But the truth is that, for the past quarter of a century, Britain has been a petro-economy. In 1999, we were producing more oil than Iraq, Kuwait or Nigeria. The following year, we pumped out almost twice as much natural gas as Iran – a country with reserves that are the envy of the world.

The result is that while we are apt to attribute the sudden spurt in Britain’s prosperity in the mid- to late-1980s to a deregulated and reinvigorated City, it owed far more to the massive windfall from the North Sea. Take a look at the numbers. In 1979, when Margaret Thatcher came to power, the amount Britain owed, as a nation, was £88.6 billion. In the subsequent six years, taxes from the North Sea (which had been pretty much non-existent previously) generated an incredible £52.4 billion.

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