Even the bank­ing sec­tor would blush

The Press and Journal (Moray) - - FEATURES -

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

View, Westhill

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