LONDON (Reuters) - The Scottish government is seeking an urgent meeting with Britain’s chancellor to urge him to lower taxes on energy companies after Scotland suffered heavy job losses due to persistently low oil prices.
Britain made a series of tax cuts and offered other incentives last March, helping an industry dealing with tumbling oil prices.
Since then, crude prices have continued to slide and Scotland has lost around 10,000 jobs as oil companies cut costs and scrap projects to respond to weaker revenues.
“The Scottish government is taking action to support the industry at this difficult time, but this needs to be matched by a commitment from the UK Government to address the fiscal regime in which the industry operates,” said Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in a statement following a cabinet meeting on the oil and gas sector.
Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney will seek an urgent meeting with British Chancellor George Osborne who will present his annual budget in March, she added.
Scotland decided at the cabinet meeting to focus on ensuring the sector retains high-level skills, that oil companies continue exploring for oil and gas in the North Sea and that new technologies are applied to improve services.
Scottish business lobby Scottish Enterprise said on Tuesday a total of 9,799 job reductions and consultations had been announced by energy companies in Scotland since July.
Trade association Oil & Gas put employment across the UK industry at 375,000 in its Economic Report 2015. It estimates that approximately 40-50 percent of UK employment is within Scotland.
Reporting by Karolin Schaps; Editing by Keith Weir