Scotland the only nation to have discovered oil and become poorer

SIR, - The Lib Dems claim to support lowering fuel prices in rural Scotland, but I ask your readers to judge the Lib Dems and their Tory masters on their deeds and not their hollow pre-election pledges.

As with everything else the Lib Dems pledged, such as on tuition fees and benefits changes, it seems voters were misled, as the Borders was not chosen as a pilot area for the proposed rural fuel discount.

Adding insult to injury, last week’s premature increase in VAT to 20% will, alone, add around £590 to the average family’s annual living costs, and before recovery is secure. We have been hit with a further 0.76p per litre increase in fuel duty, despite robust objections from business and consumer groups. The combined effect of the VAT and duty increases is to raise the average cost of fuel by 3.5p per litre, with inflation plus 1% increases in duty due in April this year and each year thereafter until 2014. So, even if the ‘ConDems’ do eventually introduce the 5p per litre discount being piloted in island areas, this will be eclipsed by tax changes they have already implemented or committed since they came to office. This is inflationary and will increase prices of most goods in our shops. The Lib Dem Chief Secretary to the Treasury described these measures as “progressive”. Clearly, he and Mr Moore are Westminster’s men in Scotland rather than Scotland’s men in Westminster.

Despite pre-election statements, the ConDems are making Scotland among the most expensive places in the developed world for fuel, despite the obvious challenges Scots face in getting our goods to our markets. It is somewhat ironic that Scotland is suffering rising fuel duty when Brent Crude Oil prices have risen to $96 per barrel, or double the low point in 2008, and will likely rise further, thereby boosting tax receipts for the UK Treasury. On the UK’s watch, and under a ‘ConDem’ UK Government of which local MP Mr Moore is now on the payroll, Scotland’s road users are being squeezed dry by London, while London gains billions of pounds in bounty from Scotland’s oil.

The London parties, such as the Lib Dems would do well to heed the words of the Roman Caesar, Tiberius, who stated in relation to taxation that: “It is the duty of a good shepherd to shear his sheep, not to skin them.”

Scotland is probably the only nation to have discovered oil and become poorer, sharing as we do the UK national debt and economic downturn, unlike near neighbours Norway who, since 1994, have amassed an oil fund worth £350 billion and escaped recession completely. However, it is not too late; Scotland has recoverable oil reserves of up to 25 billion barrels and, if we gain either full fiscal powers or full Independence, Scotland may yet be able to steward these underground assets to the advantage of current and future generations of Scots.

PAUL WHEELHOUSE,

SNP Prospective Parliamentary Candidate,

Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire,

Dunclutha,

High Street,

Ayton.