Oil price fallout

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The First Minister has chosen Lena Wilson, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, rather than an experienced oil man like Sir Ian Wood, to head up her new “oil crisis” task force (your report, 15 January).

With a Glasgow Caledonian BA in public administration and a Strathclyde MBA, Ms Wilson has been with a quango most of her career and would appear to be rather an odd choice.

It may be good gender balancing but she is clearly not in a position to advise oil firms facing the complex decision of halting production or operating at a loss in the hope prices recover.

Fortunately, as Bank of England Governor Mark Carney observed, our economic partnership with the UK means the £6 billion hole in our finances will not translate into spending cuts.

(Dr) John Cameron

Howard Place

St Andrews

With the forecast haemorrhaging of North Sea jobs now beginning to bite and the oil price reaching record lows, the North Sea is being compared to the coalfields of central Scotland a generation ago. It is time surely for reflection.

The Bank of England has stated openly that Scotland will have to take the brunt of the economic hit in jobs but that as part of the UK the pain of the drop in oil price will be spread over 60 million people.

The very vulnerable 5 million who would have made up a separated Scotland would have been living in an economy in great part based on oil prices more than double what they are today and the effects of the downturn would have been devastating.

We should all be very grateful to those who did not listen to the siren voices and wild assertions and used their heads when voting in the referendum.

Alexander McKay

New Cut Rigg

Edinburgh

Mark Carney’s message is clear: families and businesses across the whole of the UK will benefit from the fall in oil price, but the oil industry in Scotland will pay the price.

Furthermore, Scotland’s deficit, which was already greater than that of the rest of the UK, is set to worsen considerably as oil revenues fall.

Jim Murphy has outlined how taxation collected elsewhere in the UK can be used to offset this – resources will be pooled and used in the UK where needed most.

We know that the current Scottish Government is ideologically opposed to this concept, and would prefer that Scotland could manage this situation alone as an independent state or under a home rule set-up within the UK.

To those on the Left within Scotland’s nationalist movement there surely must be real concerns about the impact that this would have on education, the NHS and welfare.

I am sure that they, like me, would be very interested in seeing detailed proposals from the Scottish Government prior to the forthcoming general election if home rule is their goal.

(Dr) Scott Arthur

Buckstone Gardens

Edinburgh

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