Aberdeen event seeks to help oil and gas contractors

North Sea contractors have been hit hardest by the oil and gas downturn, according to conference organisers
North Sea contractors have been hit hardest by the oil and gas downturn, according to conference organisers
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As North Sea oil and gas contractors face higher taxes and further job cuts, an event in Aberdeen will next week set out ways of helping them through the downturn.

The conference, to be held on Tuesday at the Park Inn by Radisson on the city’s Justice Mill Lane, will bring together industry experts to help contractors plan for the new landscape.

A spokesman for the organisers – accountant Johnston Carmichael, law firm Aberdein Considine, engineering consultant Prodrill and insurance broker Caunce O’Hara – said contractors have “borne the brunt” of the 5,500 energy job losses sparked by the decline in Brent crude prices since last year.

“Working conditions for North Sea contractors have changed irrevocably during the course of 2015,” he said.

“Over the past 12 months, most have seen an erosion of employment opportunities. They also have to deal with what appears to be a clear attempt from the Chancellor to force workers out of contracting and into staff jobs.”

According to the conference organisers, self-employed contractors will pay an additional £2,000 in tax for an £80,000 contract under new rules, while those who are the sole employee of their own limited company will be prevented from claiming the national insurance contributions employment allowance.

“Many of the changes – jobs, IR35, changes to dividend taxation, employment intermediaries legislation, wealth and pensions – will be among the issues discussed at the short conference,” the spokesman said.

The event comes after Edinburgh-based telecoms group Commsworld hosted a conference in the Granite City today, aimed at helping businesses suffering from the downturn in the oil and gas industry find ways to cut costs and improve efficiency.

Network provider CityFibre and data centre operator Brightsolid also took part to highlight the benefits of ultra-fast broadband connections.

Commsworld chief executive Ricky Nicol said: “It is evident that a great number of businesses in the city are either feeling the pinch of the low oil price directly or the knock-on effects of the downturn in the industry and simply need to make efficiency savings.

“In many cases we can help to reduce costs, especially the unexpected costs such as downtime, but improving network capability and therefore internet connectivity is also a great way to improve efficiency and output.”