HUMZA Yousaf has said the infamous McCrone report’s lessons remain “every bit as relevant today” as when they tipped off the UK Government to the awesome potential of Scotland’s oil reserves.

The First Minister told The National that the 1974 report, which was kept quiet until decades after it was written, highlighted “the price of Scotland not being an independent country”.

The report only came to light after Freedom of Information requests by the SNP in 2005 – and showed the UK Government’s view of the potential of Scotland’s energy resources which would have bolstered arguments for independence during the 20th century.

Read more from our McCrone 50th Anniversary special edition here:

It comes as The National marks 50 years since the document – the circulation of which Whitehall mandarins kept tightly controlled because of its “extreme sensitivity” – was first prepared.

Reflecting on its continued significance, Yousaf said: “The paper by Gavin McCrone may have been written half a century ago, but its lessons are every bit as relevant today.

“Governments at Westminster – Tory or Labour – cannot be trusted to manage Scotland’s abundant energy resources in the interests of the people of Scotland, whether it was oil and gas back then or renewables today.

“The McCrone report highlights the cost of Westminster control – the price of Scotland not being an independent country.

READ MORE: SNP ‘won’t let Labour do to north east what Margaret Thatcher did to mining towns'

“As it concluded in 1974: ‘An independent Scotland could now expect to have massive surpluses both on its budget and on its balance of payments and with the proper husbanding of resources this situation could last for a very long time into the future.’

“What happened instead was that £400 billion of North Sea revenues were squandered by successive UK governments, with no investment for long-term benefit, and traditional industries were allowed to go to the wall.”

Read more from our McCrone 50th Anniversary special edition here:

The SNP leader said Scotland must become an independent country so its growing renewables sector to escape the same fate.

He added: “Scotland can’t afford to repeat these mistakes of Westminster rule, as we develop our huge renewables potential and transition to a net zero future.

“That journey will be faster, better and more just if we do it as an independent country.”

Yousaf recently came out against Labour’s plans to “raid the north east” of Scotland to fund new nuclear power plants in England by imposing hefty taxes on oil and gas giants.

He insisted he remained in favour of a windfall tax on energy companies but compared Labour's plans to the policies of Margaret Thatcher.