Government ‘should take stake in oil and gas assets’
Labour leadership hopeful says government should buy stakes
The government must take a stake in strategic North Sea oil and gas assets, says Scottish Labour leadership contender Anas Sarwar.
He argued that this would allow production to continue and prevent further job losses.
Scottish Labour leadership contender Anas Sarwar has said the government must take a stake in strategic North Sea oil and gas assets.
He argued this would allow production to continue and prevent further job losses.
Speaking ahead of a hustings in Aberdeen today, Mr Sarwar said he supported the creation of a new UK oil public body to identify which assets should be supported with public investment.
Tens of thousands of jobs have been lost in the oil and gas sector following the oil price crash, with revenues for the UK Government down to just a fraction of what they once were – and far below SNP predictions, prior to the independence referendum in 2014.
Mr Sarwar said: “Our North Sea oil and gas industry is a vital part of Scotland’s economy, but the challenges the sector face have been ignored by the Tories and the SNP.
“For the SNP, the crisis has caused considerable embarrassment, leaving its independence blueprint in chaos.
“That is no excuse, how- ever, to abandon the workforce.”
He insisted state intervention should be considered if strategic infrastructure such as hub platforms and pipeline networks were in danger of premature decommissioning. And he added it should also apply if there were no alternative sources of capital to invest in the asset and return it to profitability.
He confirmed that investments would be of a limited duration, until the oil price recovered sufficiently for the Treasury to make a return for the taxpayer.
He added: “As Scottish Labour leader, I would fight for the offshore oil and gas
“Challenges the sector face have been ignored by the Tories and the SNP”
industry, with a strategy focused on protecting the vital North Sea assets, and the jobs and skills that depend on them.
“And, if the Tories won’t do it, I want the next UK Labour government to take a strategic stake in the North Sea to allow production to continue and prevent further job losses.”
Rival leadership candidate Richard Leonard did not respond when asked to comment.
CONTENDER: Anas Sarwar is in the running for the Scottish Labour leadership contest and is due to speak in Aberdeen today