Scotland's Salmond urges easing of North Sea oil tax

23rd May 2011, Comments 0 comments

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond on Monday urged the British government to ease a "smash and grab raid" on North Sea oil revenues, as he arrived in London for talks after his election success.

The pro-independence leader criticised a recently announced £2 billion (2.3 billion euro, $3.2 billion) windfall tax on North Sea oil production, a major industry in Scotland.

Salmond warned the levy could cost up to 10,000 jobs and said he would be discussing alternatives in talks with British finance minister George Osborne on Monday.

"The problem with the smash and grab raid, the extra £2 billion on top of the other £11 billion the chancellor (Osborne) was expecting from Scottish oil revenues this year, is that it is going to cost a lot of jobs," he told BBC radio.

"It will actually make future chancellors worse off in the long term because it will lead to a substantial reduction in what investment would have been."

He added: "That has worked out at about 10,000 jobs. What I will be saying to him will be that there is a way to get most of the money but to maintain most of the jobs."

He will also press for the Edinburgh parliament to have greater economic powers in talks with ministers during the two-day visit.

Salmond was re-elected for a second term after his separatist Scottish National Party (SNP) won 69 out of 129 seats on May 6, securing the first overall majority by any party in Edinburgh's devolved assembly.

He has vowed to seek a referendum on independence in the second half of his five-year term.

© 2011 AFP

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