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READERS’ LETTERS: Westminster has not done a good job of managing oil wealth

A worker on a North Sea oil drilling platform.
A worker on a North Sea oil drilling platform.

Sir, – Reports state that the Norwegian Wealth Fund has gained £140 billion in the last year, and is now worth £160,000 for every one of the 5.3 million people in Norway – men, women and children.

They don’t spend this, but invest it for the future of their country, and now own 1.5% of all the company shares in the world.

Yet Scotland, which discovered oil in roughly the same area, at roughly the same time, in roughly similar amounts, is, according to the UK Government, a basket case, kept afloat only by UK beneficence.

And the UK itself is into its second decade of austerity, and heading for a disastrous no deal Brexit.

How could this be?

Well, the oil business is the responsibility of Westminster, and it is pretty obvious that it has not done a good job of managing this massive, unexpected bonus.

But it is not as if it has just done a bad job, it has done an absolutely diabolical job. Instead of a massive oil fund to benefit the nation, the UK has massive debts.

In 2015-16 Norway made £95bn from oil, while the UK actually lost money.

Of course, depending on where you are coming from, this is not all bad.

If you are an ordinary UK taxpayer it is bad; but if you are a rich oil company, with powerful friends in high places, then clearly this is great.

It is not accidental, and it is no coincidence that the UK is a world leader in tax avoidance, tax evasion and money laundering.

The Norwegian government govern for the benefit of the Norwegian people, using the interest from their oil fund income to invest for the future, in the infrastructure of the country, and the welfare of their people.

The Westminster Government governs for the benefit of the rich and powerful, with the result that they have become immeasurably richer over recent decades, while the mass of the population struggle with low wages and job insecurity, and the poor rely on foodbanks.

Les Mackay.

5 Carmichael Gardens,



No regards for small business

Sir, – The question has to be asked: does the entire political class hate small businesses?

The Scottish finance secretary has announced a near 25% rise in business rates between the coming tax year starting next month and the year 2023-24.

That averages out to a rise of over 7% per year.

Next month’s annual rise in the minimum wage for 25-year-olds and above is 6.2%.

When the minimum wage rises, the increase propagates up the work ladder, as the team leader will expect to keep their differential and, above them, the manager likewise. And then it propagates between companies even if they are paying well over the minimum wage, as they compete for employees.

At the same time, as a result of coronavirus and the reaction to its spread, this year there is likely to be an economic downturn.

These rises are dumped on small businesses by well remunerated politicians, who don’t have to worry about making a profit in order to pay their own bills.

Otto Inglis.

6 Inveralmond Grove,



Where will virus staff come from?

Sir, – I fail to understand how the SNP can claim that our NHS will be able to deal with the influx of patients from coronavirus when it is patently unable to cope with the current needs of general patients requiring attention.

These patients are reportedly lying on trolleys and wheelchairs in corridors awaiting care and attention.

Where are all the extra staff going to come from to cope with this influx?

Roy Moffat.




Would anyone notice if it shut?

Sir, – There is talk of the possibility of the Holyrood parliament closing if there is an outbreak of the coronavirus in Edinburgh.

If all it can do is have arguments about whether or not a confected term such as “cisgender” can be used, would anyone really notice if it did?

Is it time to have a forensic look at what benefit, if any, the Scottish Parliament brings to Scots?

Jill Stephenson.

Glenlockhart Valley,



No justification for virus panic

Sir, – The whole world is in the ban of the coronavirus. Panic is everywhere and every case is talked about endlessly.

Isn’t it about time we start to realise that this panic is created by media and social media?

The reality is more people will die worldwide from the “normal” flu each year than from this virus. Most people that have passed away, sad as each case is, did so because of being very much weakened due to already existing health issues. The coronavirus was the last knock.

In 1918 when the Spanish Flu ravaged the world, the number of people, and we are speaking about 50 million casualties here, was really alarming.

Coronavirus does not even come close to this.

So let’s keep our feet on the ground, don’t panic, keep calm, cool and carry on, and don’t lose view of the reality.

The large majority of patients only have mild symptoms and recover fully.

I was raised with the rules to wash my hands regularly and that it is very rude and uncaring to cough and sneeze in public without covering mouth and nose.

It is only common courtesy.

So, stop the panic, stay in the reality, keep to hygienic and normal, courteous rules and live life as normal.

Mrs Maaike Cook.

Cash Feus,



Importance of music lessons

Sir, – Having read that the minority Tory-led Perth and Kinross Council is considering cutting instrumental music lessons and those in swimming, I am filled with a mixture of disappointment and incandescent anger.

Do these Philistines not realise the enormous benefit the Instrumental Music Service provides for the pupils, their parents, schools and communities?

The Central Groups and Perth Youth Orchestra are the crowning glory for the Instrumental Music Service and should be better appreciated by the council.

I can foresee a furious reaction from pupils, parents and teachers.

When I was principal teacher of music at Blairgowrie High School I regarded the instrumental staff as an enhancement to the work of my department, not just an extra.

Alister Y Allan.

18 Castle View,



Customer friendly buses

Sir, – At a time when we are trying to reduce carbon emissions and encourage folk to use the bus rather than the wasteful car, it would help if bus times from the centre of Dundee to the West End were more customer friendly.

As it is, during the evening the 17, 22 and 73 all leave the city centre at approximately the same time every half hour.

This means that if you arrive just after you have to wait another half hour.

Surely the bus companies Xplore and Strathtay can arrange things better.

It is no fun standing waiting for a bus for half an hour in the city centre.

I have contacted Friends of the Earth on this matter, and they wholeheartedly support my suggestion.

Antony Black.

79 Blackness Avenue,