The impact of North Sea oil on the north east of Scotland, 1969-2000 : a historical analysis
This thesis examines, over a thirty year period, the impact on the North East as its economy, its people, its primary and local industries and commerce and its local authorities were forced to come to terms with the all-pervasive might of International Oil. It shows through previously closed Scottish Office files how successive governments pursued a national policy to expedite the offshore revenues but, through ignorance and a short-termism mentality, failed to implement on appropriate onshore policy to support the naive but heroic councils in the oil-affected areas in their efforts to accommodate infrastructural demands far beyond their experience. The present adverse effects and continuing financial constraints arising from some of those early desperate decisions are illustrated. This political indifference is identified in two earlier economic reports as being firmly anchored in a self-perpetuating historical bias towards the region. The thesis also reveals how indigenous businesses, static at the advent of oil, were unable or unwilling to seize a matchless opportunity while, in contrast the few outstanding home-grown successes are believed to point a way to possible rudimentary survival in the universal world of oil and gas. The fact that the Gaskin Report had nothing to offer the smaller settlements in the region's rural areas is also found to be true of the new industry with its largely urban concentrations while, crucially, mainstay primary industries in gradual decline in the 1960s, have continued on the downward path. With the exception of food processing and papermaking, other principal local commercial activities have since disappeared under the buffeting of storms brewed outwith the area.