Unfair to attack SNP over oil price

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Those who would accuse or infer that the Scottish Government deceived the public by basing estimates in the White Paper on an oil price of around $110 per barrel (Letters, 24 December) are either naïve or duplicitous.

Unless of course they are also accusing the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), the UK Government, the OECD, the World Bank, reputable economists and oil industry leaders (who together made record capital investments) of also being deceitful.

Prior to a publicised OBR reduction to $102 in July 2014, oil price estimates of most international finance bodies were in line with a figure of around $110 which was well within the EIA range of $75 to $145 projected for mid-2016 (still a year and a half away).

Of course, such accusations distract from the fact that the “UK dividend” for many oil workers will be immediate unemployment.

Many of those who encouraged a No vote, such as some industry leaders, will not suffer the same distress or ignominy while Chancellor George Osborne and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander continue to milk the industry through excessive taxation.

A future independent Scotland would have the capacity to directly tailor its tax regime, as well as overall economic policy, to minimise detrimental effects of oil price volatility.

The proposed 2 per cent
reduction in the UK 32 per cent supplemental tax charge is a token sop for an 
industry that has been keenly exploited without appropriate long-term planning for those reliant on it for 
employment or for the 
“Scottish economy” in general.

The key issue here though is not why the “Scottish economy” is currently so 
susceptible to fluctuations in the oil price after decades of colossal tax payments to Westminster (although not “totally dependent” as scurrilously claimed of SNP planning by mischievous commentators) but whether with or without oil the people of Scotland have the confidence to determine their own 
future.

For those who lack confidence in themselves and/or their fellow citizens, or who decline to acknowledge the relative success of countries such as Finland, Singapore and New Zealand, every pessimistic economic projection will, regrettably, be 
presumed to justify their doubts irrespective of the considerable range of benefits achievable by a country taking control of its own destiny.

Stan Grodynski

Longniddry

East Lothian

As Scotland remains a part of the UK and if there are to be economic impacts caused by the fall in the oil price which will affect us all, the schadenfreude aimed at the SNP by some contributors to the letters pages seems silly.

There is also a paradox that I wish someone would explain to me. If the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, says that the fall will be of net benefit to the UK, why all the anger?

And in all that anger, it seems to have gone unnoticed that, if Scotland had voted for independence, this problem (which Mr Carney seems so sanguine about) would have remained an issue for the UK until March 2016 at the earliest. I agree with comments made by Bruce Skivington (Letters, 24 December) that many small countries exist perfectly well economically without any oil and have made the point here on more than one occasion that the economic case for independence put forward by the SNP and the Greens was never predicated on oil alone.

Oil and its associated industries and revenues amount to around 14 per cent of Scotland’s GDP. That is a significant factor, but to describe it “as putting all our eggs in one basket” as William Ballantine does (Letters, same day) is not only completely inaccurate, but also demeaning to all the other industries, trades, products, services, skills and resources that Scotland is blessed with.

Douglas Turner

Derby Street

Edinburgh