The UK and Scottish governments announced Thursday that they will inject up to GBP 250 million ($358 million) into northeast Scotland’s economy, as part of a new deal that is designed to support the region’s oil and gas sector.
The UK City Deal, which will see equal funding committed by the UK and Scottish governments, includes funding for a new energy innovation centre, an expansion of Aberdeen harbour to enable the city to compete for decommissioning work and measures to support the industry to exploit remaining North Sea reserves.
In the last budget, UK Chancellor George Osborne announced a GBP 1.3 billion ($1.8 billion) package of reforms for the UK Continental Shelf, including tax cuts for the industry and a GBP 20 million ($28 million) funding boost for seismic surveying to boost offshore exploration. A new ministerial group on oil and gas, chaired by Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd, has also been set up to reiterate the UK government’s commitment to supporting the oil and gas industry and those who work in it. The group will coordinate the UK’s response to the oil price and focus on vital issues such as exports, skills and investment.
The group met for the first time yesterday and agreed to produce a UK oil and gas workforce plan in the spring. This will focus on what steps the Government will take to support those who may lose their jobs in the oil and gas sector, and set out how government and industry can help these workers move into other sectors, including other energy related infrastructure projects.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to visit Aberdeen later today to confirm the UK City Deal and announce further UK government measures to safeguard oil and gas sector jobs.
Commenting on the deal, the Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, said in a government statement:
“Oil and gas is a crucial sector, not just for the North East of Scotland but for the whole of the UK. I know it’s a very tough time for people who work in the industry and their families, and I am determined that the UK Government will do what it can to support them.
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