North-east candidates exchange virtual blows


The Scottish Labour candidate for West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine has condemned comments made by his Conservative opponent.

During an online exchange, via a statement, Alexander Burnett (Tory) said to Barry Black (Labour): “I’m not quite sure why you think the oil price crash is “very dangerous” for the [North East]?”

The response came after Mr Black challenged him over George Osborne’s comments that the crash is a ‘very good thing’.

In response, Mr Black said: “We have seen companies already give blanket cuts to the wages of contractors, relocate staff out of the North Sea and quicken anddeepen job cuts.

“A recent report has warned of 35,000 job losses in our industry, and at a time when we actually need more skilled workers this, of course, concerns me.”

Responding to Mr Burnett’s claim that the recent 2% cut in the supplementary charge will move the industry forward, he said: “In 2011, when the price of oil was $102 a barrel, nearly double what it is today, he [Osborne] raised the supplemental charge on oil and gas companies from 20% to 32% - this far outweighs this 2% election year cut.”

Of the exchange with one of Deeside’s largest employers, Mr Black added: “The Tories time and time again have shown their contempt for our local industry.’’