‘PM must help save oil jobs’

Call over tax move

Evening Express (Extra Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - By Neil Evans

PRIME Min­is­ter David Cameron was urged to speak to the oil in­dus­try to­day to en­sure vi­tal North­east jobs are not lost.

Lib Dem MP Mal­colm Bruce, who has al­ready hit out at Chan­cel­lor Ge­orge Os­borne’s £2 bil­lion a year tax raid on North Sea firms, urged the Prime Min­is­ter to step in and en­sure the en­ergy gi­ants did not move out.

It fol­lows an an­nounce­ment from Nor­we­gian firm Sta­toil that it was can­celling a £6bn in­vest­ment in the North Sea.

Mr Os­borne has de­fended his de­ci­sion to im­pose the charge, de­signed to fund a 1p-a-litre drop in fuel duty – in­sist­ing it would not halt ex­plo­ration.

Speak­ing at Prime Min­is­ter’s Ques­tions the PM said he would look “very care­fully” at the is­sue.

Mr Cameron said: “The point I would raise about Sta­toil is that when you look at the regime in Nor­way they ac­tu­ally have higher taxes on petrol and on du­ties than we do in the UK.

“When the com­pa­nies in the North Sea made in­vest­ment de­ci­sions, the oil price was around $65 a bar­rel. It is now around $115 a bar­rel.

“I think the break we are giv­ing to the mo­torist by cut­ting petrol tax, many of whom rely on their cars, I think will be hugely wel­come.”

Speak­ing af­ter­wards, Mr Bruce, pic­tured, said: “It is per­haps pre­dictable that the Prime Min­is­ter chose to de­fend his Chan­cel­lor’s pol­icy, but he did in­di­cate that the Gov­ern­ment would look to li­aise with the sec­tor, which I wel­come.” Both Mr Bruce, who rep­re­sents Gor­don and West Aberdeen­shire and Kin­car­dine’s Lib Dem Robert Smith hit out at the pro­pos­als in last week’s Bud­get.

Mean­while, Sec­re­tary of State for Scot­land Michael Moore was set to meet North Sea op­er­a­tors, trade unions and sup­pli­ers to dis­cuss the fu­ture of the in­dus­try. The meet­ing of PILOT, was be­ing held in Lon­don to­day.

“Cameron must help oil in­dus­try”, Page 6

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