Budget 2015: Oil and whisky recieve tax boost
George Osborne’s pre-election budget included improved Office for Budgetary Responsibility's economic growth and borrowing forecasts, which enabled bonuses for Scottish industries.
For the oil industry, Petroleum Revenue Tax (PRT) will be cut from 50 per cent to 35 per cent to support continued production in older fields, and the existing supplementary charge for oil companies will also be cut from 30 per cent to 20 per cent, backdated to January.
Industry body Oil and Gas UK hailed the package as "sensible and far-sighted".
Meanwhile the Chancellor also trimmed 2 per cent of whisky duty, and promised negotiations for city deals for Aberdeen and Inverness.
"Today we make that critical choice: we choose the future. We have a plan that is working - and this is a Budget that works for you," he said. Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls warned the Conservatives were planning “more extreme spending cuts” after the election if they were re-elected.
The Chancellor had already promised to further relax pension rules from April 2016 to allow up to five million existing pensioners to swap their fixed annual payments for cash, and an increase of the minimum wage from £6.50 to £6.70 per hour from October.
Scotland's Finance Minister John Swinney welcomed the breaks for the oil and gas industry, but questioned the need for further cuts. “We face the same £30 billion of unfair and unnecessary cuts today as we did yesterday. That is despite the clear admission from the Chancellor that there is headroom to invest to protect our public services," he said.