Jeremy Corbyn plans a ‘dire future for North Sea’

Fergus Ewing is calling for an assurance of no tax rises. Picture: John Devlin
Fergus Ewing is calling for an assurance of no tax rises. Picture: John Devlin
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Jeremy Corbyn’s plan to nationalise the energy industry would spell a “dire” future for oil and gas production in the North Sea, according to Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing.

Mr Ewing renewed his demand for the UK government to use tax incentives to stimulate exploration after plummeting oil prices rendered many projects uneconomical.

Scottish Labour backed Mr Ewing’s call for Westminster to work with the energy companies, prompting a critical aside from Mr Ewing on the new Labour leader’s call for public ownership of gas and the national grid.

In a statement to Holyrood, Mr Ewing said that the oil and gas industry requires “a stable fiscal environment, not subject to damaging tax rates like in 2011”.

“It is imperative that the UK government commits to no tax rises during the lifetime of the UK Parliament and that any significant policy proposals will be consulted upon with industry and the Oil & Gas Authority,” he said.

Mr Ewing noted that Mr Corbyn “has previously expressed views that the industry should be nationalised”.

Mr Ewing added: “Were there to be any mention of that, then the future of the exploration and production companies which is challenged at the moment would be dire indeed.”