SNP accused of ‘disowning’ Scotland’s oil and gas sector

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The Scottish Government has axed a flagship measure of the state of the oil and gas industry - prompting claims it is "actively disowning"  the sector.

The Oil and Gas Bulletin was cited in the White Paper on independence and used by the SNP to bolster the case for leaving the UK. But it has only been published once - in 2015 - since the referendum, during which time the North Sea industry has suffered a crippling downturn as a result of a global oil price crash.

The oil and gas industry has suffered in recent years

The oil and gas industry has suffered in recent years

The Office for Statistics Regulation has now confirmed there are no plans to publish a further bulletin.

Read more: North Sea oil and gas outlook remains uncertain
Scotland's energy minister Paul Wheelhouse insists that the Scottish government has a wealth of information on the oil industry.

But Labour spokesman Lewis Macdonald said: "This is a disgraceful decision.

“It shows that not only have SNP ministers given up trying to help the oil and gas industry – but they are now actively disowning it.

“In the run up to the independence referendum, Nicola Sturgeon promised oil revenues of £8billion a year – and the SNP government published the Oil and Gas Bulletin twice in 2013 and once in 2014 in support.

“Since the oil price collapse, we have only had one Bulletin – as long ago as 2015. That is simply a disgrace.

“With thousands of jobs lost and the industry still in recovery, we need as much information as possible on the state of the North Sea. Instead, Nationalist ministers have decided to bury their heads in the sand in an attempt to avoid a political humiliation."

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But a spokesman for Mr Wheelhouse branded the Labour claims "ridiculous" and accused Mr Macdonald of "talking down" the oil industry.

He added: “In terms of backing the sector, we are doing everything in our power to support it, but it is the Tory government at Westminster who retain most of the key policy levers when it comes to protecting jobs and investment.

“While there is no bulletin scheduled for publication at present, the requirement for any analytical bulletins is kept under review, and there is already a wealth of other published information on the industry.”