JAMES Duncan’s response (Letters, 29 August) to my letter on the impact of North Sea oil job losses and the Scottish deficit (since the halving of the oil price) was straight out of the well-thumbed SNP handbook.
For example, he makes great play about the lack of an oil fund but there is no recognition by him that Scotland has had back the equivalent of the oil tax take through the yearly Union dividend of £7 billion (Barnett formula) which has allowed for a significant £1,300 extra spending per person per year in Scotland compared with England.
He should have recognised by now that you either create an oil fund by saving the income stream from oil (like Norway) or you spend like the Scottish Government (free university tuition, free prescriptions, free eye tests, free assistance to the elderly and so on) and accept you don’t need an oil fund by remaining part of the UK – as most people understand you can’t have your cake and eat it too.
Indeed, if there was ever to be an oil fund it should have been for Aberdeen similar to what was set up for Shetland, albeit on a grander scale to fund the eventual transition from oil sector jobs back to a more diversified economy.
Of course, this discussion can only now be of academic interest as Nationalists have to accept the reality of our current fiscal situation given our £15 billion deficit.
Little wonder Nicola Sturgeon is having to hedge her bets about another referendum which in turn is giving rise to discontent amongst the rank and file, having being told endlessly that Westminster – rather than Scotland – “spends every penny of the oil revenue”.
Murtle Den Road