Papers make case for Scottish oil responsibility

The revelation in the official files, released under the 30 year rule, which revealed that Margaret Thatcher vetoed plans for a multibillion-pound North Sea gas pipeline that could have created up to 15,000 jobs in the north of Scotland, make the case for Scotland taking responsibility of its own oil wealth says the SNP MSP for North East Scotland, Mark McDonald.

The files – reported in the Press & Journal – show that in 1981 the then Prime Minister vetoed a scheme to underwrite a £1.5 billion pipeline that would have opened the way for up to 15,000 new jobs at chemical plants in Nigg and Peterhead.

As one Cabinet briefing note said:

“It goes without saying that inward investment of this magnitude would have a very significant impact on the wellbeing of Scotland and of the Highland area in Particular”.

Mr McDonald said:

“These papers just underline how Scotland’s oil and gas industry is far too important to Scotland to be left in the hands of the UK government. They make the case for Scotland taking responsibility of this massive resource.

“They are an echo of how successive Westminster governments don’t understand the industry and have squandered opportunities for jobs and investment in Scotland.

“Even now we see that George Osborne clearly doesn’t understand the industry’s concerns about his tax raid and its negative impact.

“The SNP is working hard to attract investment in North Sea Oil but Westminster’s historic bumbling risks some fields being left underdeveloped. After 40 years of inept management by the UK Government, it is time Scotland was given a chance to control these natural resources."

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