Measures Needed in UK Budget to Support Industry in "Time of Greatest Need"
In response to a topical question from SNP MSP Mark McDonald, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing confirmed that the Scottish Government are yet to receive any indication whether the UK Government plan to offer support to the oil industry in the upcoming spring budget.
Mr Ewing argued that the UK Government should use the budget to introduce a series of tax measures, including clarifying decommissioning liabilities, a refinement of the investment allowance and fiscal measures to incentivise exploration.
He went on to say that the UK Government should “step in” and help North Sea industry “at its time of greatest need”.
Nicola Sturgeon earlier today held a special session of the Cabinet focused on oil and gas sector – committing to working with industry, the Oil & Gas Authority, enterprise agencies and local partners to deliver urgent action.
The First Minister has also asked the Energy Jobs Taskforce – established in January 2015 and originally due to complete its activities this month – to continue its work to support individuals and companies in the sector.
Commenting, Mark McDonald said:
“It’s absolutely essential that the UK Government use the spring budget to provide support to the oil and gas industry.
“The Scottish Government has outlined a series of perfectly sensible measures that would support industry through a difficult period and ensure that we protect jobs and skills in the sector.
“Figures released this week show that an overwhelming majority of senior executives in oil and gas expect North Sea industry to return to peak profitability within 5 years.
“George Osborne should listen carefully to calls from industry and take the necessary steps to keep jobs in the North Sea.”