31 Responses to Scotland’s economic future: the role of oil and gas

  1. Pingback: Argyll News: Scotland’s economic future: the brave or the grave | For Argyll

  2. The explanation of the relationships between oil & gas exploration & production and taxation is very interesting – particularly the comments on the need for stable and balanced tax strategies.
    The further comments, on the need for cost cutting in the fields of education, health and the benefits regime, are fair enough if they are fair – but there’s surely some comment missing here – on the role of the Scottish banking system in the economic health of this nation.
    The colossal financial mess caused by lack of banking regulation isn’t all down to behaviour in the city of London; Scotland’s (and particularly Edinburgh’s) lauded financial sector was found to have been seriously lacking, and this needs addressing just as much – if not more – than reform of the health service, benefits regime and education funding.
    ‘Hard nosed future building’ and Johann Lamont’s culture change should surely involve more than just trimming the welfare state, it needs trimming the rampant greed and self-interest in the banking sector that’s done so much to damage this country – and to damage its reputation.
    It’s maybe not surprising that the political opinions of someone expert in the workings of the oil & gas industry should seem to echo the American Republican line, but this isn’t America.

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  3. To clarify – this was a team effort, with a senior figure from the oil and gas industry as one of the team – and who is not aligned with American Republican perspectives – as was no one else involved.
    The reconfiguration of specific services is overdue and unavoidable in any sustainable economy but would have to be based on fairness and on real protection of the genuinely vulnerable.
    There are other issues here too, which involve culture change – which can only sccessfully be managed strategically over a given time and not as the crude slam-dunk our term-governed political system tends to dictate – which is why cross party agreement to a national plan would be necessary. Johann Lamont’s move has to offer hope that cross-party agreement on fair changes in benefits and free services is achievable in good faith. The required timescale is why we have said already that such a culture shift would have to be incrementally built.
    The banks issue is a huge one and we agree utterly that reform here would have to be a core part of overall national redirection.
    It’s a very complex issue which we’re working on and when we’ve unravelled it, we will get to it.

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    • There is no such thing as “free” services – they are all paid for.

      Lamont’s move is nothing more than her folowing orders from her bosses in London, she is only interested in doing as she’s told to do – without any thought in the slightest.
      She highlights this by using the rather ignorant and imbecilic “something for nothing” phrase -all this demonstartes is that someone wrote her script and she stupidly read it out – no thought needed or involved.
      The above phrase is straight out of the Tory handbook on bashing the welfare state

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  4. Recent official figures indicate that the Norwegian economy is more oil dependent than Scotland’s. Denmark has no large oil revenue. In both cases their welfare states are as well developed as Scotland’s, so the relationship between exploitation of a finite resource and a welfare state are not mutually dependent.

    The rate of personal taxation is not the issue; it’s quality of life and individual net worth after tax. According to the World Bank, IMF and the CIA all Nordic Countries score highly on these tests. If you visit them you are immediately struck by the cost to us but it,’s hard to find shops selling cheap quality or charity goods which would indicate that the population has plenty of disposable income to sustain the local shops.

    Many new shops have opened in Oslo, Helsinki and Stockholm over the last five years. Having visited all this past year I don’t recall seeing an empty shop in the cities’ centres unlike Buchanan Street.

    Today a report indicates that in an international comparison for university research and development Finland and Sweden are first and
    second with Scotland fourth and Denmark eighth. In the same report Scotland has three university in the top global 100 while the Nordic countries have five.

    The key to our economic future is developing the spin-off manufacturing sector from our universities to create the global players we need to create

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    • A key point in the infrastructural development already in place in Norway and in Denmark. Because of the fragility of the A83, we know a lot about Norway’s substantial tunneling systems.
      Scotland has so much of this to do – which is why the one-off oil revenue opportunity simply must be pressed exclusively into the service of investment and value creation.

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    • The SNP are quick to mention all that is good about Norway but do you ever hear them telling the Scots what the price of booze is in Norway?

      It looks like they don’t want to tell the heaviest boozers on the planet that a half litre of been can cost 10 euros or £8-10p at todays exchange rate. It would certainly not help their slim chances of persuading more that 30% of the population to vote yes in the separation / independence referendum. At these prices, no need for minimum pricing in Norway.

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        • It is considered that wages are higher in Norway but so is the cost of living. You pay around 30% tax, spend 27% on rental housing and pay NOK250 or US$45 for one large take-way pizza.

          Given the current exchange rate is 9.01 Krone to the pound, it can be seen that the cost of living is exceptionally high just like the cost of their beer. I don’t think that your average Scot would be buying many pizzas on their stagger home from the pub at these prices. It is recorded that a family of four can struggle to live off one parents average wage in Norway. Hence, both parents find a need to work in Norway.

          The average salary, which runs between 45,000 NOK to 50,000 NOK (£36,500 to £40,000) is slightly higher than the UK but certainly does not cover the higher cost of living in Norway.

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  5. By all measures Norway is a very successful country. It has one of the world’s highest Human Development Index ratings.

    As a measure of something an HDI rating is a statitical weighting of earnings, level of education and healthcare longevity. Put simply if you get the income, get the education, and deliver the healthcare, then you get a high HDI.

    However, another measure of something is that of the GINI index which is a measure of income inequality where the scale runs from 0 to 1. A measure really of whether in a country one person has all the wealth or whether all the people have the wealth.

    Norway again scores very highly on this, and given these indicators, and the general observation from visiting the country that all is well, one can see why folks look towards Norway as being the type of country they would like Scotland to be.

    A positive vision of a way forward, it is so unfortunate that there are people who disparage this as an aspiration for Scotland to emulate.

    But Norway is not the only succesful small country doing well, and we ignore these success stories at our peril.

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    • Who wants Scotland to be like Norway? I don’t. I want Scotland to be like Scotland. We also need to remember that Norway has a work culture and not a benefits and booze culture.

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      • And what exactly is Scotland like? And how can she be like herself when she is a governed from the City of London and the home counties for their own benefit?

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        • Gorach, you certainly come across as being a typical SNP supporter who is paranoid, paranoid, paranoid with London and Westminster to blame for everything.

          We know that Scotland has a major alcohol problem, has a massive sectarian problem with a large number of its population happy to live on benefits. No doubt you will say that Westminster / London are to blame for these problems as well?

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  6. so many armchair generals,

    excellent article newsroom. I do this for a career so i understand the delicate balance between investment and extraction and also the geopolitical influences which determine where and when substatial captial is invested.

    i lived in norway for 2 years, my 2 eldest chikdren speak norwegian, jeg snakker lit norsk. norway is no utopia. let me tell you the hard truth it is an exceptionally expensive contry to live in. in the uk we have a culture which is substatianlly different to that of the scandanvian countries.

    putting the alcohol prcing thing to one side ( which is incidentially down to doctors prescribing alchol as an antidespresan in the 1920 and 1930 in the region )

    norway has maintained its sovereign welath fund through taxation. i was taxed at 47.5% of my earnings. So where i worked 60-80 hours per week for some months at a time. 30-40 hours if that went to pay my tax bill. and before sime one says that its not possible to work that many hours in norway as the trade unions wouldnt allow it. as a manger you are not covered by such legislation.

    the cukture of the scandanvian countries is significantly differen to that of the uk. there is an excellent blog call My little Norway, which others have visited here, which gives an insight. norwegians are proudly insular and independant but dont expect any banter at the train station annaspect of scottish life which i love.

    in short i lovd working in norway ( as ourmaninoslo ) but i would nt wish to spend the rest if my life there. if the brave new world view is that scotland shoukd be become a new norway then i’ll not be coming back.

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  7. I’m with you, Banasheil, let’s stay with benefits and booze. A work culture is something we need not aspire to if the SNP keep giving money away. (All written with tongue in cheek!)

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    • Well said Lowry. I am happy to sit back and take all the freebies that the SNP wants to throw at me which will help to boost my very large bank balance.

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  8. Malts in the Grand Hotel in Oslo great value! In Tromso you get free coffee in the pubs!

    Off topic but great importance to the Argyll economy is the threat from the UK Borders Agency which is hacking the cruise liners off big time by it’s insistence on one to one interviews with passengers if they wish to disembark at a UK port for few hours visit.

    Oban, Luss, Helensburgh and many other tourist facilities stand to lose out if cruise ships get fed up and go elsewhere.

    Another reason to vote YES!

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    • Graeme McCormick thinks that the Grand Hotel in Oslo is great value. On their website great value = £36 for a Sunday brunch. Maybe great value if you are like Rupert Murdoch, Brian Souter, Donald Trump or one of the other millionaire friends of Alex Salmond and have plenty money to throw away. I can’t see many Scots on their benefits or not wanting to pay £36 for brunch plus over £8 for a half litre of beer. £88 for a couple to have brunch with one drink is outrageous. Maybe that is what Graeme wants to see in a separated / independent Scotland?

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      • Sorry, but you are coming across as a trifle obsessed with what the Norwegians pay for certain goods. They do have a better standard of living compared to us in Scotland. Perhaps we should aspire rather than denigrate?

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      • How boring of you…..
        I’m sure the inhabitants of some countries think we pay to much for goods and services too.

        It’s a trifle ignorant to look at and lambast Norwegian prices, based on what wages are in Scotland DOH!

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  9. So, do you mean that, if independence wins the day, the SNP will open the doors to drug peddlers via the Scottish ports? Not only will we get more freebies and benefits, we can look forward to rocking and rolling our time away as high as kites. It gets even better!

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    • how do you know that teh SNP will be the government of an independent Scotland?

      Are you some sort of fortune-teller – no need to answer that, they’re charlatans and liars too

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    • Graeme and the other Nats keep shouting about Norway now (no longer the Circle of Prosperity (not much prosperity in Ireland and Iceland these days)) and how Scotland could be just like Norway. Unfortunately they try to hide the fact that prices in Norway are sky high. What on earth Claridges has to do with the argument is beyond me. A half litre of beer still costs over £8 and you will still pay over £20 for a take away pizza in Norway and that is not from a Claridges quality hotel.

      Typical of the Nats that Graeme has got to bring everything back to England / the english when he talks about “little Englanders” being “so unwelcoming”. If we are honest, we would admit that Scotland can be very unwelcoming to outsiders and that does not just relate to the abuse that our english neighbours have to put up with when they move to Scotland. If Graeme was honest, he would admit that Scotland is not the welcoming country that we would try and make the rest of the world believe.

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      • Think you’ll find that if you get rid of your rampant ignorance, you’ll get to know that both Ireland and Iceland’s economies are growing at a much faster rate than the Uk one.

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          • who really cares – apart from you that is.

            Sam is actually the name I’m known by – so why should I change it on here

            I suppose you are going to say you were registered at birth with the name benashell, wonder who you are – some ignorant LIEBOOR troll in a piss-poor disguise

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          • More likely they’re just not impressed by someone hiding behind a contrived name who’s sniping at them for doing the same – when in fact they’re not. If you snipe at people you shouldn’t be surprised if they return the compliment, with interest.

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