Budget 2016: Scottish finance minister John Swinney makes last minute plea to Chancellor George Osborne for North Sea oil and gas

 
Jessica Morris
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Oil prices have fallen over 60 per cent from the middle of 2014. (Source: Getty)

Scotland's finance minister John Swinney has made a last minute plea for the embattled North Sea oil and gas industry, ahead of chancellor George Osborne's Budget later today.

Scotland's deputy first minister wrote to Osborne urging him to deliver concessions to the embattled industry.

He adds his voice to calls from Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, industry body Oil & Gas UK and North Sea oil baron Algy Cluff on the chancellor to address the industry's urgent predicament.

North Sea oil firms have been forced to cut costs, halt or abandon projects and axe tens of thousands of jobs amid tumbling oil prices.

Swinney today slammed the impact of “indecision and inconsistency" in energy policy from Westminster on the industry.

He called for tax cuts for the North Sea, and additional moves to encourage exploration in the basin.

Swinney also wants the government to make it easier for companies to access tax relief for decommissioning projects, and consider non-fiscal support such as government loan guarantees.

"Today I repeat my calls for immediate action from the chancellor in his March budget to ensure the significant potential of the North Sea is realised," he said.

"The Scottish government has been engaging with the industry, unions, and the Oil and Gas Authority to address the challenges facing the Oil and Gas sector."

"There is consensus across stakeholders that the loss of highly-skilled workers and critical infrastructure could be realised if urgent action is not taken."

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