The SNP is today welcoming comments from oil expert Sir Ian Wood calling for the UK Government to look at reducing taxes for the North Sea in the next three weeks.
Sir Ian – who conducted a review of regulation and taxation for the UK Government – said: “I think at least 10% needs to come off the current level of tax, possibly a bit more.
“But we need to be planning medium to long-term to give us the confidence, to give them the confidence to hunker in there.”
Highlighting the fact that “no one foresaw the oil price coming down from $100”, he added that a cut of this level would bring taxes “back to something more like the normal rates” and “prevent a crisis of confidence”. And in an article in today’s Telegraph Sir Ian says that the UK Government should take urgent action, implementing a tax cut in the next three weeks.
SNP MSP Mark McDonald said: “Sir Ian Wood’s backing of tax changes for the North Sea is a welcome development, and adds to the growing case for change.
“The UK Government must now heed this call from the UK’s leading expert on the North Sea and implement these changes as a matter of urgency.
“The Scottish Government has done everything it can with the powers it has to support the industry. Earlier this week the First Minister announced a taskforce has been set up to help maintain jobs and mitigate the impact of any losses.
“It is now time for the UK Government to act and introduce an exploration tax credit – as Sir Ian highlights this will give the industry the confidence to invest in the future of the North Sea.”
And following a meeting today in Aberdeen with trade unions, Oonagh Werngren, Oil & Gas UK’s operations director, said: “We listened to the unions’ concerns in light of rising costs and declining production, exacerbated by the fall in oil prices.
“The industry is working hard with government on fiscal and regulatory reform to help safeguard the long term future of our industry. Oil & Gas UK and the Unions have today agreed to join together in calling for this much needed reform.
“We also agreed to meet the unions again as soon as possible for further discussion.”