Copied from a political analysis piece in today’s Sunday Telegraph by Iain Martin
What does the Government want to do with the money from shale?
The Treasury wants to get its hands on the tax revenues that shale might generate. An alternative approach would involve establishing a national fund to invest the proceeds. The UK government spent our share of the North Sea oil boom in the 1970s and 1980s on day-to-day expenditure, whereas the Norwegians established a sovereign wealth fund, into which oil revenues would flow. The fund is now bigger than the Norwegian economy and is on track to be worth £1 trillion. Within limits, a portion can be spent each year by the government. In the UK, such a sensible idea seems to stand little chance of getting past the Treasury, unless the Prime Minister can be persuaded that such a fund would stand as a legacy of his time in office.
Should fracking ever become a reality in this country, is there the slightest possibility that our current leaders will think beyond their own electoral success and actually do something to benefit future generations? Given that the late Margaret Thatcher didn’t follow the Norwegian example, I’m not holding my breath.