DECC dodge 30,000 lost oil jobs claim

Oil chiefs claimed a new tax on North Sea oil production would cost 30,000 jobs over the next two years as MP's probed the state of the industry.

At a hearing today (May 4) of the Energy and Climate Change Committee focused on chancellor George Osborne’s £2bn wind fall tax raid on North Sea oil.

The influential committee was investigating the ‘Implications for the North Sea oil and gas industry of the Budget 2011’ in Parliament.

Chair Tim Yeo quizzed energy minister, Chris Huhne, on how much consultation had taken place between his Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the chancellor’s Treasury.

Mr Yeo asked if recent high profile disagreements between Mr Huhne and Mr Osborne over changes to Britain’s voting system were in fact down to animosity over the way the tax had been brought in.

A smiling Mr Huhne denied the claim, but refused to say whether DECC was consulted, he said: “We never comment on that, like all government in the past.”

Earlier the committee had heard from oil bosses who were left baffled by the tax increase, claiming it would slash investment in North Sea oil and would stop predicted job increases of 15,000 a year at least for the next two years

The jobs would have been created ‘upstream’ in oil production and would be role like petrol station workers more like drillers and engineers, however the oil chiefs told MP ‘we’re not confident’ of the new jobs since the tax change.

During the same hearing economic secretary, Justine Greening MP, without commenting on the jobs losses replied: “We looked very closely before announcing it and we’re determined to work constructively with the industry to get them over the additional hurdles that the tax have brought in.”

Luke Walsh

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