The Scottish National Party has raised concerns that contractors in the oil and gas industry may be rendered out of work by announcements in the half-yearly ‘mini-budget’ from Chancellor George Osborne in his Autumn Statement tomorrow (25 Nov 2015).
Callum McCaig MP – the SNP’s spokesman on Energy in the House of Commons – has been advised by companies in the oil and gas industry of their concerns for new rules affecting contractors and businesses which hire them.
It has been reported that among the new measures which Osborne plans to bring in are steps to force businesses to hire contractors as full time staff if their work exceeds a period of one month.
McCaig – the MP for Aberdeen South – is urging the Chancellor not to introduce unrealistic changes to the conditions for individuals with limited companies when making his official announcement in the commons next week.
He said: “People working in the oil and gas sector are already extremely concerned about these measures, which seem designed to handicap their business opportunities, and potentially lose them work altogether.
“Osborne is still to announce his autumn statement, but the industry is wise to his lack of understanding of the practicalities in hiring contractors in the oil and gas industry. It is not the job of the Chancellor to preach from Westminster to the North Sea about how business should be run.
“Concerns are growing amongst individuals working within their own limited companies that drastic changes to their contractual arrangement could render them out of employment completely. It is feared that companies may avoid hiring short term contractors altogether to avoid being caught out and having to employ them full time.
“This is a Chancellor who has been famously slow to support this industry, but he is swift to make decisions without considering the detrimental consequences to the oil and gas sector.
“At a time when this industry needs to thrive, George Osborne is only finding ways to weaken it.”