Smart criticism

Although John Smart may choose to criticise my comments about the current state of affairs as regards company ownership as “unreasonable” (Scotsman, 4 June), I counter that they are not.

My view is merely a reflection of the fact that, during my working life, the whole economy has gone through remarkable changes in the whole of the UK.

Whereas my early working life was in industry, that had changed radically by the 1990s as we succumbed to the cheaper goods of other nations, especially those in the Far East.

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In Scotland, the household names to which I alluded in my letter, such as Scottish Mutual, Scottish Provident, Scottish Life, Scottish Widows, the TSB et al, became wholly-owned subsidiaries of companies based outside Scotland. This is unarguable fact.

The Scottish drinks industry is also largely owned by organisations based outside Scotland. To state that is not unreasonable, or critical. It is a statement of where ownership lies. And ownership dictates where decisions are made.

Caterpillar, for example, was closed down because the parent company in the USA decided to close it. Hyundai did not take up the generously funded opportunity in Fife because their interests at home made them change their mind.

By comparison with those sad tales about Scotland, Mr Smart makes a good point about both Nissan and Tata, both of whom have invested in their UK operations. The same applies to the Vauxhall investment in Ellesmere Port, and to the former Corus steel plant in Redcar, both of which are in England, of course, just like those he mentioned.

That is good news for us and, with any luck, the government will help bring more industry into the UK, including Scotland.

To elect to stand outside the powerhouse that the UK economy will become in the next few years, as overseas investors put their money into the sterling area, is an illustration of why Scots will benefit from the continuation of the Union.

Andrew HN Gray

Craiglea Drive