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Oil cash ‘should benefit all Scots’

Oil cash ‘should benefit all Scots’
SHETLAND Islands Council has backed calls for Scotland to get a share of North Sea oil revenues.

SHETLAND Islands Council has backed calls for Scotland to get a share of North Sea oil revenues.

Convener Sandy Clunes said it was time for Scotland to benefit from oil in the way the northern isles have.

The independent councillor says the Scottish Parliament should have more say in licensing and environmental protection.

The call for greater control of oil and gas reserves is made in the council’s submission to the Calman Commission – which is looking at how the relationship between Westminster and the Scottish Parliament should change 10 years after devolution.

In the paper, Mr Clunes says: “A key contributor to the Shetland economy over many years has been oil and gas.

“The regulation of oil and gas is reserved almost entirely to Westminster and consideration should be given to the issue of devolution of control over oil and gas, perhaps by means of giving the Scottish Parliament control over oil and gas within Scottish waters.”

When oil was first discovered, the then Zetland County Council promoted a pioneering bill at Westminster which gave it powers when dealing with the oil industry.

It allowed the council to protect the environment and own the land on which Sullom Voe oil terminal is situated. Since 1976 the council has accrued around £500million from the oil industry.

Mr Clunes said Holyrood should have a greater say in how the industry develops now that the North Sea is winding down and the future lies in waters west of Shetland.

“I think it only reasonable that the Scottish Parliament gets a share of oil revenues,” he said.

“I think it would have to be a negotiated deal, based on population.”

A spokesman for First Minister Alex Salmond said Shetland was an excellent model of the benefits that could be gained from hydrocarbons.

“We welcome this positive contribution to the Calman Commission from Shetland Islands Council,” he said.

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