The UK Government has been accused of treating the oil industry like a “cash cow” as new figures show every north-east resident has contributed the equivalent of £600,000 to Treasury coffers.
The SNP highlighted that Westminster has received around £300billion in tax revenues during the lifetime of the North Sea – but claim the region has received “precious little in return”.
According to Nicola Sturgeon’s party’s calculations, the oil and gas tax revenues equate to around £600,000 per person living in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
The Nationalists claim that in contrast the Aberdeen City Region Deal works out at only £262 per north-east resident.
Last night, Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin said the figures showed that the Conservative government was “milking” the region’s economy.
Tory energy spokesman Alexander Burnett MSP dismissed the SNP’s figures.
But Ms Martin said: “The Tories are using the north-east as a cash cow – hundreds of billions of pounds have been taken out of the region over recent decades.
“That trend has continued under successive UK governments, and the total revenue has been worth around £300billion to the UK – or more than £600,000 pounds for each person living in the north-east today.
“Just this week the Foreign Office were boasting about the scale and impact of oil and gas jobs, as part of a St Andrew’s Day charm offensive – but when North Sea industry is crying out for help, and jobs are being lost, the chancellor refuses to listen.”
Ms Martin said Chancellor Philip Hammond had “failed” to deliver loan guarantees, encourage exploration or support decommissioning in his Autumn Statement.
Mr Hammond did recommit to the “Driving Investment” strategy – a key demand of industry body Oil and Gas UK.
Ms Martin added: “The Tories are milking the north-east’s economy and we are getting precious little in return.
“We all know that without greater investment and activity we risk losing vital capacity and skills in the supply chain that will support production and ensure we realise the total value from maximising economic recovery from the North Sea.”
But Conservative Aberdeenshire West MSP Alexander Burnett said the government had delivered £2.3billion in tax cuts for the North Sea over the last two years.
He added: “To suggest that the north-east economy is being milked is ironic in the extreme for an SNP government that is taking nearly £40million in local council tax payments out of this area to spend in the central belt.”