Philip Hammond’s Brexit budget to include North Sea boost
Chancellor set to make the "optimistic" forecast despite promising more austerity
Hammond - PA
Phillip Hammond is set to deliver an “upbeat” budget today in the wake of an optimistic OECD growth forecast for the UK.
The chancellor’s spending plans are expected to include measures to help the North sea oil and gas industry.
The budget is Hammond’s first as chancellor, and the last one to take place in the Spring before it is moved to take the place of the Autumn Statement.
Public finances have been stronger than expected in recent months, with the OECD yesterday revising up its growth forecast for the UK.
It said the British economy would expand by 1.6 per cent in 2017 - up from its previous estimate last November of 1.2 per cent.
Oil and Gas UK has been lobbying for tax incentives for decommissioning in the North Sea, and the Treasury has indicated it will set up a discussion paper on that and other measures to build on “unprecedented support” in the last three years.
In a letter to Hammond SNP Energy spokesperson Callum McCaig said: “The Scottish Government stands ready to cooperate with the oil and gas sector, the regulator and Westminster to create a ‘sector deal’ for the oil and gas industry, which should be far from a low priority.”
Elsewhere the Scottish Government, Scottish Labour and the Scottish Greens all called on Hammond to abandon the austerity approach of his predecessor George Osborne, but the chancellor is set to warn more spending cuts are in the pipeline.
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North Sea oil and gas industry contributes approximately £17bn to the UK’s balance of trade and supporting over 300,000 jobs
Reports suggest the Treasury is in line to receive around £1bn in tax revenues from the industry in the coming financial year
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