Even the banking sector would blush
SIR, – There is a glaring red flag with the current regime of oil and tax in the UK. Production in Scotland rose 2.95% last year, with 74.7million tonnes extracted (market price £17.5billion) – however, despite production rising to its highest level in six years, the treasury are MINUS £312million down.
Seeking to head off what was a precipitous collapse in the oil price – and the resulting job losses that has entailed – the UK Government is presiding over a programme of corporate welfare that would make even the banking sector blush (egged on eagerly by the SNP it must be said who wanted even more state assistance).
Shell received a rebate worth £179million despite making a £2.6billion profit. Likewise, BP pocketed £342million of your cash, even though it made £1.1billion. The oil industry has the government wrapped round its fingers – knowing ministers both Scottish and UK are terrified the industry will slash jobs if the rebates stop.
It is time for the public subsidy to end and for the oil industry to start paying its dues. The North Sea is now a highly competitive basin once more so this corporate welfare is only serving to enrich shareholders and executives. The UK Government needs to start attaching strings to the rebates (no job cuts, job security etc) or slapping windfall taxes on profits. Ricky Simpson, Mains