Budget Resolutions - Amendment of the Law

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:55 pm on 14th March 2017.

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Photo of Callum McCaig Callum McCaig Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Energy and Climate Change) 5:55 pm, 14th March 2017

I will not give way, as others still wish to speak.

The privatisation of the Green Investment Bank is pushing ahead at precisely the wrong time. As part of this, I hope that the Government will reflect on the challenges they face and cancel that sale.

Oil and gas has raised its head as an issue, given the changing dynamic in Scottish political debate. In 2014, the then Prime Minister promised Scotland a £200 billion oil bonanza if we voted no. He told us that the industry relied on the broad shoulders of this United Kingdom. Well, those shoulders have barely shrugged in defence of the 65,000 people, many of them in my constituency, who have lost their jobs while the Government have been asleep at the wheel.

I and my party will take no lectures from folks over there on the oil and gas industry. We have seen an absolute dereliction of duty; the Government have been asleep at the wheel. This Budget provided an opportunity to right that wrong, but what did the Government do? Did they come forward with the exploration incentives that the industry needs? No, they did not. They simply reheated a previous commitment from the last Budget and said that they would set up a discussion group. Frankly, that is not good enough. When people are losing their jobs, it is not enough to sit down and have a chat over a cup of tea. An independent Scotland would undoubtedly have acted; it would have acted swiftly and decisively to save these people’s jobs.