The SNP has today (12 March) called on UK Chancellor George Osborne to make next week’s budget a “turning point” for the North Sea oil industry with bold and decisive action on tax.
The Scottish Government has already matched the UK Government’s contribution to the Aberdeen City Deal and gone beyond it – investing a total of £379 million in the North East of Scotland.
The Scottish First Minister also recently announced a £12 million Transition Training fund to support skills, and a further £12.5 million to help businesses innovate and internationalise.
After securing conference’s support for a motion urging for more action, SNP MSP Mark McDonald said: “There is no doubt that this is a challenging time for the oil and gas sector and the North East economy in particular – but the SNP government is taking real action to support the industry and protect jobs.
“On top of the £1 billion that has already been invested in infrastructure in the North East over the last Parliament, the Scottish Government will invest a further £379 million, including its contribution to the Aberdeen City Deal.
“The upcoming UK budget is a chance for the UK Government to finally take the action required to properly support the oil and gas industry by reducing the headline rate of tax they pay.
“The UK Government received £300 billion in revenues from the North Sea over the last few decades – now is the time to give something back so that this industry can still have a future.
The Scottish Government has proposed a number of actions the UK Government can to take to support the industry, these are:
- A substantial reduction in the headline rate of tax, with the primary objective of creating an internationally competitive tax regime in the North Sea.
- Removal of fiscal barriers for exploration and enhanced oil recovery (EOR)
- Fiscal reforms to improve access to decommissioning tax relief and encourage late life asset transfers. This will reduce costs and help prevent premature cessation of production
- Urgent consideration of additional non-fiscal support, such as government loan guarantees, to sustain investment in the sector
Conference backed the following resolution:
ACTION ON NORTH SEA JOBS
Conference welcomes the support the Scottish Government has given to protect vital jobs in Scotland’s oil and gas industry, despite the global challenges facing the sector; calls upon the UK government to take the opportunity of next week’s budget statement for long overdue action to support the sector, including a substantial reduction in the headline rate of tax, removal of barriers to exploration and enhanced oil recovery, tax relief on decommissioning and additional support such as government loan guarantees to safeguard the future of Scotland’s oil and gas industry.