Oil industry says referendum not a threat

SNP MSP Maureen Watt has welcomed a report by Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce that shows the majority of companies do not think the 2014 referendum is a factor in investment in the North Sea Oil industry.

In the study, oil and gas firms reported increased optimism but said there were concerns among the industry caused by an unexpected rise in tax introduced in the 2011 budget.

Ms Watt, SNP MSP for Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, said this strengthened the case for Scotland being given responsibility for offshore taxation.

She said:

“This is an informative report that highlights the holes in the anti-independence parties’ claims about uncertainty caused by the independence referendum.

“The majority of companies polled said the referendum was of no concern – highlighting the extent of the scaremongering from opposition parties.

“In fact the opposite is true. It is the anti-independence parties’ damaging tax regime that is creating uncertainty and the taxation policies of successive Westminster Governments – Tory-Lib Dem and Labour – that have damaged the sector.

“This fiscal instability is the only uncertainty causing harm to the industry, not the independence referendum, as the AGCC report makes clear.

“This country has had three massive tax hits in the last nine years which is why Scotland needs the full powers of independence.

“This would allow us to tailor the North Sea tax and regulatory framework that will ensure extraction levels are maximised and support the industry fully – and to make the most of a
trillion pound asset base, including the setting up of an oil fund.

“Investing a share of the returns from oil and gas production into an oil fund will continue to provide for future generations – instead of being squandered, as successive UK governments have done with Scotland's North Sea dividend.”