The Scottish National Party has today called on the UK government to reduce North Sea oil and gas taxation at the UK budget in March in order to secure a recovery for the industry.
Callum McCaig MP (Aberdeen South) the SNP’s Energy spokesperson, urged David Cameron to make the move at today’s Prime Minister’s Questions – but the Prime Minister was unwilling to make any commitment.
The question was triggered by the bleak activity report published yesterday by Oil and Gas UK, which warned that the industry is teetering on the edge of a chasm due to the slump in crude oil prices
McCaig MP said; “The Prime Minister’s response today was deeply disappointing. Scotland’s oil and gas industry has contributed more than £300 billion to Treasury coffers and yet the UK government has been unwilling to step up and take the decisive action needed to support the industry at a difficult time.
“With less than three weeks to go until the Budget it is vital that the Chancellor listens to the Scottish Government, Oil and Gas UK, Trade Unions, and other industry experts, and makes the overdue decision to reduce the North Sea tax burden.
“As Sir Ian Wood highlighted yesterday, drastic action is needed from the UK government now to maximise recovery for the North Sea.
Scottish Energy News: see also: http://goo.gl/CpCvnp
“The efforts of the industry to improve efficiency, reduce operating costs and increase production must now be matched by UK government action to create a competitive tax regime that stimulates exploration and development, attracts investment and protects jobs – so that we can make the most of the North Sea basin’s continued potential.
“The SNP Scottish Government has taken the positive action it can to support those affected by the downturn through the Energy Jobs Taskforce – including £12 million in funding to help oil workers retrain in other fields – and £379 million investment in the North East
“Successive UK governments since the 1970s have mishandled the huge income generated from Scotland’s oil and gas sector and at a difficult time for the industry it is imperative that the government now takes action to secure its future.”