Scottish Labour call to nationalise North Sea rigs that could cost taxpayers millions


The confederate is expected to call for the state to step in by bringing key assets into stand-by public ownership to prevent oil and gas reserves being “turned off prematurely”.

Numberless than 100,000 workers in the sector are feared to have lost their fields following the collapse in prices.

A motion to be discussed at the Scottish Labour bull session in Perth on Friday urges both Holyrood and Westminster to “agree a co-investment blueprint to support the industry, taking a public stake where necessary, to foster vital offshore infrastructure”.

This could see both platforms and in the offings bought up and brought under state control.

The motion, which has been put along by the Aberdeen South and North Kincardine branch, also calls for proceeding from ministers to “maximise the opportunities from future decommissioning”.

Time official figures show North Sea oil has posted a loss for the taxpayer for the original year in its history.

The Treasury put £24million more into investment and decommissioning than it got service in petroleum revenue tax (PRT) in 2015/16.

It is the first time the oil balance sheet has been in the red since record-breakings began in 1968/69.

Labour North East MSP Lewis Macdonald claimed the crew had put “forward a positive plan to secure the future of our oil and gas industry”.

He said: “By beaming this motion, Scottish Labour will reaffirm its commitment to shielding the north-east’s reputation as the energy capital of Europe.

Government intervention could safeguard that the North Sea taps are not turned off prematurely.

“As well as protecting the charges of today, we will also fight to ensure Scotland has a comprehensive decommissioning game so the North Sea can continue to deliver jobs for the next generation.”

Mr Macdonald voiced his party’s stance is “in contrast to the SNP and the Tories, who have been all at sea in their answer to the oil price downturn”.

A spokesman for the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Master plan said: “We’ve already provided extensive support in response to falling oil values through a £2.3billion package of measures, and committed £40million to new seismic readings to help uncover more opportunities.

“This was only made viable because of the broad shoulders of the wider UK economy.”

A spokesman for Scottish Might Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “Labour are also talking hogwash on the issue of Scottish Government support for workers affected by the oil industry downturn.

“Our Metamorphosis Training Fund has already directly supported over 1,500 solitaries made redundant, in addition to more than 700 further particulars being helped through two formal training procurement rounds.”

But Scottish Tory vigour spokesman Alexander Burnett dismissed the plan as “a ludicrous suggestion”.

He annexed: “Not only have they made no mention of how they would pay for such a management, it’s clear that this is not the best way to support the oil and gas industry.

“The UK Government has already assigned significant tax breaks to the companies working in Aberdeen and in the North Sea, allowances which should capacitate further exploration and investment, and see companies hold onto more women through this difficult time.”

Meanwhile, Mike Tholen of exchange body Oil and Gas UK told MPs the industry is holding its head “above water” after in year’s losses.

Giving evidence to the Commons Scottish affairs panel he added: “Hopefully we will be a positive taxpayer this coming year, and for years to aggregate b regain.”

But he warned the price of oil could remain at about US$50 (£40) per barrel “peradventure for many years to come”.

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