A report from the UK Office for Budget Responsibility suggests that revenue from North Sea oil taxes could amount to at least £2 billion per year, up to £10 billion possibly.However, before we start digging out the Jimmy Shand records, we need to see these figures in context. Official statistics show that the Scottish Government collected £63 billion in taxes (2020-21).
In the same period it spent £99 billion, so the deficit that year was £36 billion. The deficit was larger than usual because of Covid measures, but it has often been in excess of £12 billion, so a North Sea tax windfall of £4 billion, say, would not solve many problems. Furthermore, Scotland has to buy more and more gas itself.
When Hunterston nuclear power station closed, the loss in electricity generated was made up by burning more gas. Most of that gas had to be imported and paid for, so a hike in gas prices would hit Scotland hard.
And the blow will be harder still in a few years’ time when our last nuclear power station, Torness, will have to close also. We shall probably end up burning even more gas to generate our electricity.
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That is bad news for all of us, as the price of electricity soars, but even worse news for planet Earth as our CO2 emissions keep rising.Independence does not solve the problems we have got and it lands us with new problems we do not need.
Les Reid, Edinburgh.
Our national history in the making
The various views about the creation of the UK rarely admit to the real reason, which is that England refused to have a foreign power on its northern border and as Scotland was chummying up to the French the choice faced was invasion and incorporation, or Union.
After the costly failure of the Darien Scheme, the moment was ripe and the choice was obvious, so here we are. Of course the discussions were all held in secret which explains the shortage of written evidence
I wonder if Putin offered Ukraine a similar option?
Tim Flinn, Garvald.
Strange thinking behind child abuse
The recently published Roundtable Report from The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry contains startling insights into the mind-set of abusers within a religious setting.
It points at their “capacity for self-delusion, engaging in thinking that was illogical”. The personal testimony of an abusing priest explains, “ I handed the problem over to God. It doesn’t fit with how I am, but this is the way you made me. It’s up to you to sort it out. It didn’t outweigh the good I was doing.”
This unscientific and irrational thinking would surely be identified and corrected in any other setting but if we are politely to tiptoe around it when it is religiously based we cannot be surprised when this privilege allows for the blurring of similar lines of moral certainty.
Neil Barber, Edinburgh Secular Society.
Liz Truss is not the continuity candidate for the Conservatives. She is the calamity candidate.
Never was there a politician more likely to trip over her own feet just before she's about to pass the winning line.If she becomes the next Prime Minister, all of Britain's enemies, never mind Labour, the Lib Dems and SNP, will scarcely believe their luck.
Mark Boyle, Johnstone.
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