Sir Robert Smith, Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, hailed as a success the year-long campaign to increase investment in the North Sea, saying it will help create a jobs boost for the economy across the North-east.
Following the budget, he said: “There has been a huge effort to demonstrate to the Government the importance of changing the tax system to encourage investment in the oil and gas industry to get the most from our reserves. Just as I rightly criticised the Government’s surprise tax raid on the North Sea last year, it is right to commend the Government for listening to the industry over the last year.
“Everyone I consulted with, including the Chancellor, the Secretary of State for Energy and the Secretary of State for Scotland, were all prepared to sit down and look at ways to boost the industry.
“I particularly want to praise the industry for the constructive way they have communicated with the Government to demonstrate that the right tax regime would actually lead to an increase in production and higher revenues for the country.”
Sir Robert warned, however, that the Government and the industry must continue the process they have started.
“Whilst this is an important step, this high level of engagement must continue. With the right support the North Sea can continue to be a significant source of revenue for the UK for years to come.”
Sir Robert said that new field allowances, including a £3bn allowance for deep fields West of Shetland, as well as certainty on decommissioning were amongst a raft of measures that would increase growth in the North-east.
“The reduction in Corporation Tax will certainly help local businesses. So will the increase in the income tax threshold that equates to a £220 tax-cut for low and middle earners.”