Oil is risky asset

Brian Wilson quotes Finance Secretary John Swinney’s earlier advice to Holyrood ministers that our taxes funding pensions and benefits might not cover the costs if oil revenues fell appreciably (Scottish Perspective, 10 January).

Brent crude fell below $50 a barrel this week, which clearly would indeed have knocked a large hole in Scotland’s finances if independent or much more autonomous than now.

Mr Swinney has quite recently repeated his public assertion that the oil is a bonus and not essential for our finances, however, so there seems to be a degree of worrying inconsistency.

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No doubt the price will go back up eventually, but as this is asserted to depend on Saudi Arabia’s slashing its crude output, there is considerable uncertainty over any Holyrood claims that a wonderful financial future could still eventuate.

Our long-term prosperity would have depended on the actions of overseas interests which have no interest in how we are affected.

Better off in the UK indeed with the greater devolution on the way.

Joe Darby


Dingwall, Ross-shire