Frack­ing could have brought great ben­e­fits

The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition) - - COMMENT -

Sir,– As the SNP meets to cel­e­brate its “suc­cesses” and plan its fu­ture, it is worth con­sid­er­ing some of the problems that face Scot­land and are not be­ing in­tel­li­gently ad­dressed by its govern­ment.

The anaemic 0.1% of growth in the sec­ond quar­ter of 2017 was hailed as “good news” by econ­omy sec­re­tary Keith Brown.

One won­ders what Mr Brown would re­gard as bad news.

Econ­o­mists point out that even against the UK’s slug­gish growth, Scot­land is per­form­ing badly.

Frack­ing in Scot­land has been – con­trary to ad­vice from the SNP’s own sci­en­tific panel – ef­fec­tively banned, although pro­cess­ing the prod­ucts of frack­ing else­where con­tin­ues, for now.

In ad­di­tion, tax­pay­ers have now paid £30 mil­lion to sup­port the Ni­cola Stur­geon Space­port at Prest­wick.

Prest­wick’s ad­van­tage used to be that planes could land there in very high winds when they could not land at Ed­in­burgh or Glas­gow.

“Di­verted to Prest­wick” was a mes­sage that elicited groans from many trav­ellers over the years.

That rea­son for its use­ful­ness is now ob­so­lete. It is said that Prest­wick will be­come prof­itable in 2022.

But then that pre­dic­tion comes from Derek Mackay, so we know what it is worth.

In sum, Scot­land has a poor track record in growth but can af­ford to pass up the value that frack­ing would add to the econ­omy and can sup­port an air­port that is a drain on the pub­lic purse.

Those in­volved in health and ed­u­ca­tion must de­spair at this ir­re­spon­si­bil­ity on the part of the Govern­ment. Jill Stephen­son. Glen­lock­hart Val­ley, Ed­in­burgh.

Op­ti­mistic out­look: econ­omy sec­re­tary Keith Brown.

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