A year ago Alex Salmond claimed that the oil in the North Sea was worth “£300,000 for every man woman and child in Scotland”.
In response Alistair Darling said: “For Alex Salmond to treat us as fools by deliberately confusing the wholesale value of oil with the amount we would actually raise through tax is fundamentally dishonest. He should withdraw his claim.”
Mr Salmond had, of course, used the wholesale value at $100 per barrel (not the tax take), claimed nearly double the reserves compared with Sir Ian Wood and the Office for Budget Responsibility and ignored the fact that the oil assets were mainly owned by foreign companies.
So what has been the impact on Aberdeen since the collapse of the oil price and following the latest job loss announcement by the “majors”?
To date it has been brutal in terms of the thousands of direct job losses with unfortunately much worse to follow if prices remain low – not forgetting that many of those lucky enough to retain their employment have had their salaries cut and work practices made harder.
Then there is the multiplier effect which hits those people who are reliant primarily on the oil industry who have also been losing their jobs by the thousands.
Making matters worse is the fact that during the boom years Aberdeen has become a “one-trick pony” and no longer enjoys a diverse economy which it had during the last major downturn in the 1980s.
This in turn has impacted on the housing market sales which have virtually come to a standstill for the mid- to higher-ranged prices – not helped by the new penal land tax (LBTT).
Given the above, I wonder if the SNP would still be prepared to tell the oil workers and the thousands who depend on the oil industry that their jobs are merely a “bonus” and whether Nicola Sturgeon would level with the Scottish people and explain which public services would be slashed over and above the current austerity plans if we had voted for an independent Scotland. I won’t hold my breath.
Murtle Den Road