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North Sea Oil and Gas

Volume 607: debated on Wednesday 23 March 2016

2. What discussions he has had with representatives of the North Sea oil and gas industry on UK Government support for that sector. (904201)

Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors, including the oil and gas industry. Last week, the Chancellor announced a further package of reforms to support jobs and investment in the oil and gas sector. That will help the industry respond to the challenging commercial conditions caused by the steep fall in oil prices.

The excellent Budget package for the oil and gas industry has certainly been welcomed by that industry. Is that another example showing that when Scotland’s two Governments work together they can get the best outcome for Scotland in the United Kingdom—something that an independent Scotland could never have achieved?

My hon. Friend makes an extremely good point. The United Kingdom is able to absorb the shocks of the volatile oil price, and take steps to ensure that our oil and gas sector is as strong as it can be, given the low oil prices.

Will the Minister and his Front-Bench colleagues commit to taking action to ensure that companies in the oil and gas sector have appropriate access to finance at this time?

The Government do all they can to support businesses the length and breadth of the United Kingdom in all sectors. My point is that we are able to take action and support the oil and gas sector because we are the United Kingdom. Had Scotland become independent, it would be facing a very substantial loss of revenue and have great difficulties absorbing that.