Policy 'working' say Tories

Oil output spike follows Osborne’s tax cuts

Murdo FraserTory leaders are claiming that tax breaks introduced by the UK Government last year have helped prompt the first increase in oil production since 2001.

Figures released today have revealed 70 million tonnes of oil were produced in 2015/16, a 13.3 million rise on the previous year.

While that remains low in comparison to other years, it is the first time the trend has reversed since the turn of the millennium.

In March last year, the UK chancellor George Osborne announced a series of measures to support North Sea oil which had been hit by a tumbling global price.

He reduced petroleum revenue tax from 50% to 35%, and oil supplementary tax from 3% to 20%.

Scottish Tories point out that Mr Osborne was acting after lobbying from Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who had met with oil bosses to take advice on how to protect the industry.

“For the first time, statistics are now showing this move worked, as production for the financial year beginning April 2015 – two months after the budget announcement – show recovery,” said the party in a statement.

Despite the improvement in production, the Oil and Gas Production Statistics revealed the lowest income from oil sales on record, blaming the low price-per-barrel across the world.

Scottish Conservative shadow finance secretary Murdo Fraser (pictured) said:When the oil industry needed help, the UK Government stepped in to provide significant tax breaks.

“We are now seeing that tactic work, as production rose directly after the measures were introduced.

“Of course much more needs to be done, and these breaks ought to continue having a beneficial impact on the North Sea.

“However, with prices remaining low across the globe, it is an industry which remains under immense pressure.

“Fortunately, the strength of the UK economy is able to absorb this nosedive, meaning public spending can be protected.

“If the SNP had its way, with sales at such a low level and therefore tax receipts declining, an independent Scotland would be very much feeling the heat.”

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