Green groups slate support for ‘dying’ industry

Environmental groups have reacted with anger to George Osborne’s budget today. The Chancellor said the Government was preparing a range of measures to extract the “greatest possible amount of oil […]

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By Tom Gibson

Environmental groups have reacted with anger to George Osborne’s budget today. The Chancellor said the Government was preparing a range of measures to extract the “greatest possible amount of oil and gas from our reserves in the North Sea.”

Jenny Banks, energy policy officer at WWF-UK said the support for oil companies announced in the Budget didn’t make sense: “The Chancellor chose tax breaks for a dying industry with no long term prospects.

“George Osborne is bending over backward to appease the dirty, carbon emitting technologies of yesterday. He seems to be desperate to squeeze every last drop of oil from the North Sea rather than wholeheartedly backing the industrial opportunities of the UK’s huge renewable resource.”

Mr Osborne said he would work with industry to encourage further investment by dropping tax rates. Greenpeace complained the UK’s tax regime for the oil industry was already among the lowest in the world.

Charlie Kronick, a senior energy advisor for Greenpeace said: “George Osborne has turned logic on its head with this tax break for oil companies. It should be the polluters who pay, not hard pressed working families.”

However, trade body RenewableUK welcomed the recognition by Mr Osborne of the “crucial” role renewable energy plays in our energy supply.