Waveney MP sends high-level plea to David Cameron: Energy industry needs help ‘as a matter of urgency’

Oil and Gas platform

Oil and Gas platform - Credit: Archant

The energy industry in the East has issued a high-level plea urging the prime minister to support the region 'as a matter of urgency'.

Waveney MP Peter Aldous. Picture: James Bass

Waveney MP Peter Aldous. Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2014

Waveney MP Peter Aldous, supported by industry chiefs, has sent a letter to David Cameron calling for recognition the region is facing its own challenges in the face of low oil and gas prices.

It comes after Mr Cameron last week announced a package of measures to support the oil and gas industry in Aberdeen – leaving energy chiefs in East Anglia disappointed they appeared to be overlooked.

The letter calls for:

? Support in the form of tax relief and incentives to encourage exploration, whether or not it is successful.

Mark Goodall from New Anglia LEP. Picture

Mark Goodall from New Anglia LEP. Picture - Credit: Matthew Usher

? Further funding for seismic surveys to stimulate future investment.

? Lower rates or abolition of the supplementary charge and petrolium revenue tax.

Most Read

? A regional plan for the Southern North Sea to recover potential reserves of gas.

? Government-matched investment into the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership's (LEP) oil and gas taskforce to provide advice and investment to struggling businesses.

The letter highlighted 65,000 jobs already lost across the economy, and added: 'These are huge pressures on company and project financing and more job losses and company defaults are a very real worry.

'Further measures are now required as a matter of urgency to support the industry.'

Industry chiefs have also called for oil and gas prices – which are currently linked – to be uncoupled.

With oil prices hovering at around $35 (£23) a barrel, gas prices have been driven down, making it more difficult for businesses to stay afloat.

Mark Goodall, chairman of the LEP's oil and gas taskforce, said: 'They have different uses. Gas is important for the production of electricity.' He said that gas currently produced 44pc of the UK's electricity, and heated 70pc of its homes.

'It is more of a necessity,' he added. 'Gas is the only transition fuel we have.'

Has your business been affected by the downturn? Email sabah.meddings@archant.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter