9 January 2015

Local MSP Backs Calls for Vital Reform of Oil Taxation

Banffshire & Buchan Coast SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson has backed calls for urgent reform of the taxation regime for the North Sea oil and gas sector.

Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Minister Fergus Ewing published a new report proposes fiscal changes to support investment, encourage exploration and ensure that the North Sea is a competitive investment location, as well as setting out the Scottish Government’s work to support the sector.

The three key proposals contained within the report are:
  • An investment allowance to provide support for fields that incur higher costs to develop;
  • A phased and timetabled reversal of the increase in the Supplementary Charge implemented by the UK Government in 2011; and
  • Introduction of an exploration tax credit to help increase levels of exploration and sustain future production.
Commenting, Stewart Stevenson said:

“The oil and gas industry is vital to the North-east and is one of the mainstays of our local economy.

“While the industry is largely still controlled from London by the UK Government – which is a large part of the problem – I very much welcome the proposals being made by the Scottish Government to support the industry and the thousands of jobs which depend upon it here in the North-east.”

Fergus Ewing said:

“The oil and gas industry is a strong success story for Scotland and will continue to be. However, because of the mismanagement of oil and gas fiscal policy by the UK Government, challenges remain and we must tackle the on-going cost pressures and the fall in oil prices head on.

“That is why today the Scottish Government is publishing a report setting out a range of taxation changes and we will now consult closely with industry on these proposals.

“Our proposed fiscal changes will not only boost the economy but analysis based on industry data shows that they will support thousands of jobs.

“We are calling for an investment allowance – as recommended previously by the Scottish Government in 2011 and Scotland’s Oil and Gas Expert Commission last year. This will simplify the fiscal regime and potentially boost investment by between £20 billion and £37 billion – supporting up to 26,000 jobs annually.

“Last year the UK Government announced a 2 per cent reduction of the Supplementary Charge rate – this reduction doesn’t go far enough. We are calling on the UK Government to provide a clear timetable to fully reverse the increase brought in in 2011. That will provide a strong signal for investors that the North Sea is open for business.

“After years of using the North Sea as a cash cow the UK Government must finally and urgently take substantive action. We believe there is a long term sustainable future for the North Sea and we are committed to using every lever at our disposal. It is time for the UK Government to follow suit.”

Stewart Stevenson
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