Budget raid on oil and gas revenue ‘won’t happen again’

Alistair Carmichael
Alistair Carmichael

Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael has predicted that there will be no repeat of the 2011 Budget tax raid which plunged the oil and gas industry into turmoil.

Chancellor George Osborne’s surprise £10billion hit on North Sea producers almost wiped out new investment at a stroke, although UK Government ministers have since attempted to repair the damage with their guaranteed decommissioning tax breaks and new field allowances.

Asked if the 2011 decision had been a mistake, Mr Carmichael told the Press and Journal: “Government ministers never admit mistakes, but I think there would have been opportunities to do it differently and I suspect you won’t see it happen again.”

The Orkney and Shetland MP indicated he was planning to hold talks with industry leaders, as part of his new role within the Cabinet.

“I think it’s an enormously successful part of the UK economy, and I think it never gets the credit it deserves – principally because the people who are engaged in it are too busy making it work to get out and tell people about it,” he said.

“As secretary of state for Scotland, having been on farm visits and visiting fishing ports, the oil and gas sector is very much another of the candidates for an early visit, and early engagement.”

Read more on the Scottish Secretary’s plan to allow consumers to challenge fuel suppliers over pump prices in today’s Press and Journal