Sir, – Nick Decker and others have been making preposterous claims about the potential benefit of oil to an independent Scotland.
Their claims are as overblown as those of Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon in 2014,when they predicted that oil prices would remain over $100 a barrel.
They also claimed we were “on the cusp of a second North Sea oil boom”.
Both predictions were nonsense and, as a result, actual oil revenues between 2014 and 2018 were £30 billion less than they predicted.
No apologies were ever given for the fantasy.
Oil extracted from the North Sea is owned by private companies and its value to the Scottish economy lies only in the tax it produces.
In 2018/2019 that was £1.43 billion which is only 2.28% of the Scottish Government’s total income.
As Sturgeon couldn’t get away with such whoppers twice, she appointed a so-called Growth Commission to come up with a new blueprint for independence.
Its author, Andrew Wilson, has said “…we’ll assume for the purposes of our projections that oil is producing zero revenues and therefore treat any revenues that we get from oil as a proper windfall to be used on intergenerational projects rather than spent on spending today.”
In plain words, that means Scotland’s oil revenues are so unreliable that we will put whatever we get into a piggy bank for some long term use.
Your “oil-will-make-us-rich” correspondents also fail to understand that the discovery of new reserves is of no benefit unless they can be profitably extracted.
Shale-to-oil operations in the USA have driven down the market price and a stagnant world economy will have the same effect.
To ignore these facts and get excited by reported “finds” is to be as reckless as Salmond and Sturgeon were in 2014.
Meantime, Sturgeon’s government spends £12.6 billion more than it receives in income giving us a 7% fiscal deficit – which is the highest in Europe.
So high, in fact, that the Growth Commission expects that it will take 5 to 10 years to get down to the 3% necessary for admission to the EU.
A more sober assessment of the prospects for an independent Scotland was given in 2017 by Moody’s, one of the world’s three main credit rating agencies.
They said that our credit would have “ junk” status – in the same group as Guatemala and Azerbaijan.
Beaumont House, Perth.
Rubbish effect of bad refuse idea
Sir,– Fife Council, like some other councils, is quite adept at thinking up crackpot ideas without ever considering what knock-on effect their ideas might have on local people and local surroundings.
We tax-payers have already suffered a reduction in the number of times our garden waste bins are picked up and now we’re being warned that, despite paying our usual council tax, it soon might cost each of us £35 per annum to have our garden bins emptied.
What does not seem to have been considered is what action some inconsiderate householders might take to rid themselves of normal garden refuse if they cannot afford that £35. Will it be dumped on the pavement and left to the weekly team of street-cleaners?
Will it be thrown into some nearby bit of grassy parkland or even a children’s playground?
Will it be dumped by night into the opening of some farmer’s field like some other bulky rubbish that thoughtless people dispose of?
That garden rubbish will end up somewhere but, because Fife Council reduced the size of our blue domestic rubbish bins some years ago, most of it cannot go into them!
Perhaps those who organise our rubbish collections are naive enough to consider that some of the money being saved could be spent on more road signs saying, “Keep Fife Tidy”.
Archibald A. Lawrie.
It’s not just NHS red tape at fault
Sir, – As reported in The Courier, a former Scottish health secretary, Alex Neil, asked whether the NHS needed 15 separate NHS boards, including 15 separate human resources departments, with the suggestion that centralising some of these would allow funds to be diverted into health care (“Call to slash NHS red tape and free up cash for care”, November 15).
I retired from NHS Fife in 2015.
I won’t go into all the problems I had trying to access my pension. Let us just say I had several anxious weeks.
I found the human resources unit at Kirkcaldy Victoria to be helpful and efficient. By contrast, another NHS administration office offered me a contact number years out of use.
There are more fundamental problems with healthcare in Scotland and the rest of the UK. For example, the cumbersome NHS paperwork , charts and forms that are often over-written yet barely literate, badly drafted and confused. People summoned to NHS clinics three or more times in a month for tests that could be done in one session.
Another example is Care in the Community, a poor system based on fallacious thinking decades ago. For instance, should not government require a percentage of ground floor flats and bungalows in new developments to be suitable for people with disabilities?
30 Station Place,
Democracy in a ‘one-party state’
Sir, – I was amused to read that the Conservative candidate for Dundee West describes Dundee as “a one party state”, because the council, MPs, and MSPs are all SNP.
The term “one-party state” suggests a totalitarian regime, where opposition is kept down by nefarious means, including military suppression.
The situation in Dundee, however, is that the SNP is dominant because that’s the way people vote in democratic elections!
1 Albany Road,
West Ferry, Dundee.
Protecting NHS is vital for us
Sir, – As recently retired GPs with 40 years’ experience of the NHS, we have listened to the various political parties and their proposed policies regarding the NHS.
We believe the threat to the NHS from creeping privatisation and austerity is a more important issue than any other, including Brexit.
Colleagues down south are horrified by what they are witnessing, and we fear the same will happen in Scotland if we do not take action. We tend to take our NHS for granted but we are certain once it is lost, it will never be regained.
We would not tell anyone to vote for a particular party, but we would implore them to vote for the party they judge most likely to protect the Scottish NHS.
Dr Alan Weir and Dr Jane Delaney.
Remembering a pension legacy
Sir, – I have just listened to Angela Rayner speaking about the damage done to pensions for women.
Is she unaware of the effect Gordon Brown’s robbery of pension fund money had on thousands of people who had final salary pensions, most of which were abandoned due to the unacceptable cost of running them?
A A Bullions.
6 Glencairn Crescent,