Westminster Comment - Oil and Gas on the Agenda

As we approach the UK Government’s budget, securing support for the oil and gas industry has been top of the agenda for my North East colleagues and I.

Last week I questioned the UK Treasury as to what fiscal steps it is taking and will be bringing forward to restore confidence in the oil and gas industry.

This comes on the back of a report by Oil and Gas UK that suggests that headline tax rates of 50% are no longer sustainable in an environment where oil prices will be “lower for longer”.

To reduce the tax burden on the industry will cost the Treasury little but the benefit will be substantially felt in the wider economy.

It will support employment and unlock finance which in turn will drive the innovation to support our supply chain in delivering the changes, the innovation, the skills and the expertise that this industry is renowned for.

A reduction in this headline rate of tax will encourage more projects to get the go ahead and it would provide the clearest signal that the Government can offer that they believe in the future of oil and gas and will do everything they can to ensure that that future is realised.

Later in the week I along with my colleagues for Aberdeen Callum McCaig MP and Kirsty Blackman MP took part in a debate on oil and gas.

The debate gave me the opportunity to recognise the game changing technology and innovative thinking that have been pioneered by Subsea companies based in Westhill as well as reiterating calls for fiscal support for the oil and gas industry,

In the constituency it was a great pleasure to visit the Mains of Drum garden centre to visit some modern apprentices as part of Modern Apprenticeship Week.

Having worked in a similar hospitality environment I know the skills learnt are invaluable for future employment.

Also this week I received confirmation that I am registered to vote.

A change in the way voters are registered means that you may no longer be able to vote.

It is now done by individuals and not households. Luckily you can reregister by going to www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.

Make sure you have your national insurance number handy.

It is important you do this so you are able to vote in the upcoming Scottish Parliamentary elections on May 5th and the EU referendum in the 23rd of June.

Remember 16 and 17 year olds can also vote in the Scottish Parliament elections!

Recently, I have been in Ballater with Cllr Geva Blackett, and Dennis Robertson MSP meeting with constituents affected by flooding who are having ongoing problems with their insurance situation.

One company, Integra, seems to be causing particular issues for a number of policy holders.

If you are experiencing any problems with this company or any issues at all in relation to recovering from flooding, please do not hesitate to contact me to see what assistance I can provide.

Finally thank you to all of you who have got in touch with regarding your problems with BT.

They have been extremely useful for informing my dealings with the company.

I would still like to hear from you on these, so please do continue to email me on Stuart.Donaldson.MP@Parliament.uk.

As always, please do get in contact if you feel I can help with anything.