The Government remain committed to supporting the industry and building on the £2.3 billion package announced in recent Budgets. My right hon. Friend the Minister for Energy and Clean Growth greatly enjoyed her recent visit to Aberdeen—as did I, when I visited—when the industry presented its initial proposals for a deal. My right hon. Friend is meeting the sector deal champion, Trevor Garlick, tomorrow.
I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. The oil and gas industry based in the north-east of Scotland has contributed over £330 billion to the economy, supports over 330,000 jobs across the United Kingdom and has a supply chain worth nearly £30 billion. With an estimated 20 million barrels of oil still to get out of the North sea, the industry has huge potential to drive this country’s growth, but of course there is still uncertainty, so I know that the Minister will welcome the response—
Order. I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman, but we need a single-sentence question, not a preamble.
Will the Minister pledge to work continually with the industry to develop and deliver the sector deal?
What discussions has the Minister had with the Treasury about the impact of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs’ new end-use procedure changes on the gas and oil industry?
I will give a very succinct answer, as you have requested, Mr Speaker. I do not know, but I will happily meet the hon. Gentleman to discuss it.
What consideration is my hon. Friend giving to the downstream sector? Our remaining oil refineries are important national assets and major centres of employment, and they could benefit from clear, long-term thinking.
As my right hon. Friend will be aware, the whole sector is important to us, and specifically the supply chain. I have met various players involved, and it is of critical importance to us.
The UK Government have so far failed to announce a sector deal for oil and gas, and there was no mention of one in their industrial strategy. There is a need for a sector deal approach to the industry. The Scottish Government have been calling for such action. Will the Minister finally rectify this glaring omission and commit that vital support for the industry and the jobs and investment it relies on?
The hon. Gentleman should be aware that this is a priority for us. We are working very hard with the sector to come up with a sector deal, and I expect those talks to come to fruition very soon.