Calls have been made for the UK Government to clarify what has happened to the as yet unfilled oil and gas ambassador role, which was pledged almost two years ago.
SNP energy spokesman at Westminster Drew Hendry MP has now written to Chancellor Philip Hammond urging him to “come clean” on the scheme ahead of this week’s Budget announcements.
He said: “In my letter to the chancellor, I urge him to commit to this in his Budget. Failing that, he should come clean and admit the UK Government are planning to ditch the proposal altogether, in which case they owe businesses and oil workers an apology.
“By now, a well-established oil and gas ambassador should have had nearly two years since the original pledge to help leverage investment into the North Sea, promote this vital sector on the global stage and widen access to global markets for Scottish firms.”
And Holyrood’s Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Derek Mackay, writing for the Press and Journal’s online sister publication Energy Voice, urged Mr Hammond to deliver tax relief to the oil and gas decommissioning industry.
He stated: “The UK Government could demonstrate its commitment to the sector – and to the jobs and communities it supports – at its autumn Budget by delivering on its promise to reform decommissioning tax relief, a move long called for by the Scottish Government and industry.”
A spokeswoman for the UK Government said: “We see a long future for the North Sea industry, which is why the UK Government established the Oil and Gas Authority with a primary objective of maximising the economic recovery of the estimated 10 to 20billion barrels still remaining in the UK continental shelf.
“We are also working with the sector to build on the £2.3billion worth of UK Government support through our modern industrial strategy.”