Budget Resolutions - Income Tax (Charge)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:07 pm on 31st October 2018.

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Photo of Drew Hendry Drew Hendry Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) 2:07 pm, 31st October 2018

My hon. Friend makes the point succinctly about the way Scotland is treated on these matters and I thank her for that intervention.

This Government’s negligent actions have already drained our economy of much-needed, vital investment. The Chancellor failed to take the steps to support the economy and businesses. The Fraser of Allander Institute estimates that a hard Brexit could cost 80,000 jobs in Scotland between 2020 and 2030. Mark Carney told MPs in this building that Brexit has already cost households—families—up to £900 each. Again, there was no mention of that in the Budget. And we know why. The UK Government’s own figures have shown that there simply is no good Brexit, with a substantial hit to the economy, as a best-case scenario, running to a whopping 8% reduction in GDP. In context, that is a cost of £2,300 per person, per year by 2030. Even if the UK signs a free trade deal with the EU, Scotland’s GDP will be hit to the tune of £1,610 per person every year until 2030.

There was also a failure to support the oil and gas sector in the Budget. The UK Government have now taken more than £350 billion-worth of North sea revenues, and that is excluding, by the way, the supply chain, corporation, employment or business taxes, and we are supposed to cheer when the UK Government do nothing in their Budget for that industry, other than to float the idea of a tax increase and then say they are not imposing it, along with some vague verbal support for decommissioning. Where is the funding from the Secretary of State? Why has he not been arguing for the sector deal for oil and gas?

The Office for Budget Responsibility is stating that the outlook for oil and gas is showing a rise from £1.2 billion to £2.2 billion per year on average. Production statistics are up on 2014-15 levels by more than 23% and oil and gas sales values are up by nearly 20%. New fields such as Capercaillie, Achmelvich and Nexen’s phase two in the Buzzard Field underline the remaining potential. A study at Aberdeen University suggests an extra 4 billion barrels of oil from offshore, on top of 2017 estimates, yet the sector is still ignored. [Interruption.] Some Conservative Members are chuntering that the Greens will not like that. Let me tell them that, unlike the Chancellor’s passing mention or the green UK statement that came out, I intend to mention climate change in my speech. That neatly leads me on to say that the Government, having ignored the oil and gas sector, a sector vital for the coming decades—[Interruption.] I am going to make some progress. The sector is vital in the coming decades while we transfer to low and zero carbon. It is an utter disgrace. A sector deal must be brought forward now. It should include national hubs for underwater innovation, transformational technology and decommissioning.

Where was the UK Government’s manifesto pledge that committed them to working collaboratively with the Scottish Government for an ultra-deep water port for decommissioning? Oil and gas has always been a poorly discharged duty by successive Westminster Governments, complete with ministerial pinball and 20 energy Ministers in 20 years. This Government, however, are also falling asleep over their duties to climate change—