The oil and gas sector is important for the UK’s economy, for energy security and for jobs. That is why the Government have established the Oil and Gas Authority as a strong, independent regulator over the past two years, providing a £2.3 billion package of support to encourage investment and exploration in the UK. In the spring Budget last week, the Chancellor announced that the Government will consider how tax could be used to assist sales of late-life oil and gas assets in the North sea, helping to keep them productive for longer.
Do this Government stand by or reject comments, which are in contrast to industry voices, made by the Scottish Conservatives’ energy spokesman, Alexander Burnett MSP, that the oil and gas industry does not need any help and that
“People in Aberdeen are not asking for more at the moment”?
I am sure that my hon. Friend will understand that I will not comment on that specific economic issue. However, I admire his awareness of the oil spot price. The Government have managed to engineer a significant fall in oil and gas supply costs on the continental shelf—[Interruption.]
Order. A cerebral Minister is at the box responding to a pertinent inquiry, and the hon. Member for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill (Philip Boswell) is behaving in a mildly boorish fashion—very uncharacteristically. I am sure that this is an exceptional case.