Belfast Telegraph

Scotland independence could bring tax breaks for North Sea oil industry

By Katrine Bussey

The North Sea oil sector could benefit from new tax breaks if the SNP comes to power in an independent Scotland, the country's energy minister has suggested.

Fergus Ewing hinted at the prospect as he accused successive Westminster governments of having "squandered" cash from oil revenues by failing to establish an oil fund.

The SNP politician said it was "crystal clear" that if changes to the tax regime were not made, the hunt for oil would move to other parts of the world where extracting it would be cheaper.

He also hit back at former chancellor Alistair Darling's claims that the sector had been successful because it had benefited from a "very stable tax and regulatory regime" under UK governments.

Mr Ewing said: "What the industry needs is a stable and predictable fiscal regime, and quite clearly that is what the industry hasn't had over past decades."

He said there had been 16 "significant tax changes" that had impacted on the industry in the past 10 years. If the SNP was in power in an independent Scotland, he said, a standing committee would be set up with the North Sea industry to discuss tax changes.

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