Labour candidate Jamie Kerr today renewed his attack on the imposition of a windfall tax on the oil and gas industry by the Tory/Lib Dem coalition government. It followed a statement by Centrica, the owner of British Gas, that it might not re-open one of the UK’s biggest gas fields because of the added tax burden.
Mr Kerr said: “Jobs and investment in the North Sea are being put at risk by the Lib Dem/Tory coalition government’s reckless tax plans. The effect on Shetland of companies like Centrica pulling out would be devastating with massive job losses.
“It is shameful that this tax raid on the North Sea has not been thought out. Like the Lib Dem’s VAT increase which increased the price of petrol by three pence per litre, this tax that has been rushed through without a thought or care for those ordinary folk that it hurts the most. In order that we protect investment in the North Sea and in Shetland’s local economy, I call on the Liberals and Tories to reverse this tax immediately.”
Meanwhile Liberal Democrat candidate Tavish Scott re-iterated his claim that Shetland’s lifeline transport links with the mainland would have to be a high priority for whoever is elected on Thursday.
Mr Scott said: “Affordable air and sea services that meet our needs are vital to the islands’ social and economic life. Shetland’s MSP must fight to get business travel restored to the Air Discount Scheme. Since the SNP government cut them out of the ADS, Shetland’s voluntary sector and our local businesses have been hit hard. This cut must be reversed.
“Our ferry links to Aberdeen were threatened by the SNP which wanted to slow down the ferries, extending the crossing times, and to cut the number of crossings. This threat was fought off but this does not mean that it will not rise again when the new ferry contract is finalised. If I am re-elected I will oppose any plans to downgrade our ferry service.”