The SNP’s Westminster Energy spokesperson Mike Weir has claimed that a report criticising the coalition government’s tax grab on the oil and gas sector is evidence that Scotland needs to take control of her own oil resources.
The Nationalist MP was responding to a report by Westminster’s Energy and Climate Change Select Committee that concluded investor confidence in the oil and gas sector may have been undermined by the £2 billion levy on North Sea producers announced in George Osborne’s Budget.
Commenting on the report’s conclusions Mr Weir said:
“The committee are correct in their criticism of the Treasury’s decision to hike tax on the North Sea oil and gas sector which undermines investment and job creation in this vital industry.
“There is widespread opposition to the way the UK Government is treating the North Sea industry, and instead of simply regarding Scottish oil as a cash cow, the Tory-Lib Dem Government must realise how important our offshore industry is for jobs across Scotland and for the economy of the north east in particular.”
Accusing the UK coalition of hindering development in the north sea and of holding Scotland’s energy sector back the MP added:
“The UK Treasury has banked over £13 billion from Scotland’s oil and gas in the course of this year but refused even a tenth of that in return to secure the future of the clean coal industry in Scotland.
“After 40 years of oil and gas Westminster has coined in some £300 billion from Scottish water – around £60,000 for every man women and child in the country. The Tories’ own Office of Budget Responsibility figures suggest another £230 billion of oil revenues over the next 30 years – and that was before the latest announcements.
“All of this underlines yet again why Scotland must have the powers of a normal nation to invest in our economic priorities to secure jobs and the long term future of our core industries instead of watching them being squandered.”
The report follows a recent visit to Scotland by UK Prime Minister David Cameron to announce a £4.5bn BP project BP off Shetland. Mr Cameron confirmed that the waters around Scotland will continue to produce significant quantities of oil for decades.
However he was immediately criticised by First Minister Alex Salmond who accused Mr Cameron’s coalition of causing harm to the sector and holding developments back. Mr Salmond claimed the lost investment could have provided a jobs boom in Scotland.