Budget pledge to help North Sea oil industry

Charlotte Henry
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CHANCELLOR George Osborne told the Treasury Select Committee yesterday that he will take action in the upcoming Budget to support industry in the North Sea, in the face of falling oil prices.

Answering questions on devolution, Osborne said: “I took decisions in the Autumn Statement to reduce taxes on North Sea oil... and I’m sure we are going to have to take further steps at the Budget.”

His comments came after shadow chancellor Ed Balls, on a visit to Scotland, called on Osborne to implement immediate tax breaks in order to help the North Sea sector.

Osborne also confirmed that he does not want Scottish MPs to vote on some areas of the budget when devolution of tax powers happens saying that the principle of English votes for English laws ”will have to apply on areas connected with the budget.” The chancellor added that if a future Scottish government “imposed a punitive rate of income tax...Scotland would live with the consequences of that action.

Meanwhile it emerged that Osborne’s deputy, Danny Alexander, had told cabinet colleagues he expects average petrol prices to fall below £1 a litre in the near future.

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