Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Darling warns of damaging risk for the energy and fishing industries

Darling warns of damaging risk for the energy and fishing industries
The North Sea oil and gas industry would face several years of uncertainty beyond 2014 if Scotland backs independence, a leading pro-UK campaigner has argued.

The North Sea oil and gas industry would face several years of uncertainty beyond 2014 if Scotland backs independence, a leading pro-UK campaigner has argued.

Alistair Darling MP, chairman of Better Together, said investor confidence in the sector would be affected by prolonged secession negotiations with the UK Government and further talks with the European Union.

The former chancellor met business and civic leaders in Aberdeen yesterday as part of a “listening tour” of Scotland as the anti-independence partners step up the drive to retain the Union.

Mr Darling said: “Outside experts have said it will take three to four years to negotiate separation from the UK.

“As for the European Union, I can’t give you a figure, but the last applicant to get into the European Union just finished 10 years of negotiations.

“There will be considerable uncertainty, and that has implications on licensing, taxation, and on decommissioning costs, which is one of the big issues coming up – and we can’t afford to wait.

“The risk is that companies faced with uncertainty will go to places where they know the lie of the land, and once you sow seeds of uncertainty, it takes a long time to reassure people.”

The former Aberdeen University student also sounded a word of warning for the Scottish fishing industry, which he claimed would find it much harder to negotiate in Brussels as part of an independent country.

He said: “In the fishing industry, which is very important to the north-east, having the clout of the UK matters.

“I have been involved in European councils for 13 years and I can tell you that small countries just don’t have the same voice. It is the big countries that call the shots.”

Mr Darling argued that many business leaders in Scotland were fearful of speaking out on the fiercely divisive independence issue for fear of a negative reaction. The Labour MP insisted that the SNP in particular needs to be challenged more to answer “hard questions” about the future of Scotland outwith the UK.

He said: “In the past, if people have criticised the SNP they have been shouted down, they have been attacked as being somehow negative or unpatriotic and I think that is deeply regrettable.

“In any grown-up democracy, people should have the right to stand up and say whatever they believe, and we can either agree or disagree with it. For too long, the Nationalists have not been challenged – they have had 80 years to think about this and there are still fundamental questions they can’t answer.

“Look what has happened in the last year, the more people have spoken up the more the wheels have come off.”

Ultimately, however, the backers of the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat backers of the Better Together campaign know that they will have to win the independence argument on several fronts. Mr Darling said: “It comes down to three levels – we have to win the emotional argument, because the UK is greater than the sum of its parts and we can be Scottish and British and proud of both. Also we have the influence, which is greater as part of the UK, and then the economy.”

Recommended for you

More from Energy Voice

Latest Posts