I CAN’T share your enthusiasm for the Aberdeen “City Deal” (Leader, 29 January). I suspect that it will in the end amount to very little, given the time it takes us in this country to put new infrastructure in place. (One wonders how much of the money will actually be spent.)
However, why should the Aberdeen area be singled out for public largesse? The oil industry did extraordinarily well during the boom years, but wasn’t asked to make any extra contributions when Brent was selling for more than $100 a barrel. Now that the inevitable cyclical change has occurred, those who’ve made huge amounts of money appear to think that the less fortunate should bail them out. What about putting something aside for a rainy day?
As you say, there was no Plan B, but that’s no reason to press ahead now with what you rightly call “a gesture of intent”. Long-term decisions about infrastructure should be made after careful, objective consideration, not as a knee-jerk response to market fluctuations.
Granton Road, Edinburgh
It is rewarding to see the Tory and the SNP governments working hand in glove for the benefit of the North East (your report, 29 January). Perhaps we are better together after all?
While the City Deal is recognition that there will be no “second oil boom” anytime soon, it will be a welcome boost to the Aberdeen economy. Nonetheless it is worth looking closely at what is being offered by Westminster and Holyrood.
Firstly it is notable that the £524 million of funding is not immediately available, but will be drip-fed up until 2025.
The bulk of the £254m provided by the SNP government will be used to upgrade the rail track at Montrose. Alex Salmond actually committed to this in March 2014. At that time the then First Minister said he would “actively take forward” the project.
It is also important to note that whilst the Scottish Government funding is welcome, the SNP is cutting local authority spending in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire by £25m in this coming year alone.
Not only is the SNP presenting existing infrastructure commitments as new projects, Peter is being robbed to pay Paul.
(Dr) Scott Arthur
Buckstone Gardens, Edinburgh.