Scotland Courts Oil Producers With Taxes Lower Than U.K. Budget

(BLOOMBERG) Scotland Energy Minister Fergus Ewing is seeking to court investment in the region’s oil and gas industry and become a hub for offshore wind developers by reducing corporate taxes included in the U.K. government budget.

“The budget was difficult for us,” Ewing said yesterday in an interview at Bloomberg News headquarters in New York. “Oil and gas producers want stability and we’re giving it to them. The tax-equity grab is not what people expected from the U.K.”

The remarks shed light on the Scottish government’s efforts to wrest control of the region’s oil resources from the U.K. as politicians from London to Edinburgh debate a proposal from Scottish nationalists on whether to hold a referendum on independence.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s government released a budget plan last month that boosts taxes on North Sea oil producers by 1.14 billion pounds ($1.8 billion) over the next six years. The U.K.’s three main political parties oppose independence for Scotland.