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Response to the UK Government’s 3rd December 2014 Autumn Statement

Written by Shelagh Whitley

The UK Government’s 3rd December 2014 Autumn Statement ignores the government’s pledge to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, favours oil and gas companies and will contribute to dangerous climate change says Shelagh Whitely, Research Fellow from the Overseas Development Institute (ODI).

The UK Government today announced:
- New and higher tax breaks to support companies in their efforts to find more expensive and risky sources of offshore oil and gas
- A school for fracking - the ‘National College for Onshore Oil and Gas in Blackpool’ which will cost tax payers £750,000 to develop and run.

“Despite the UK government’s repeated pledges to phase-out fossil fuel exploration, the Chancellor has today announced new and even more generous tax breaks for oil and gas companies. These tax breaks will lead to an increase oil and gas and exploration in high cost and risky areas  in the North Sea,” said Ms Whitley. 

“The substantial additional funding going towards the development of a school for fracking is a sign that the government is continuing to encourage growth within the UK’s shale gas industry in spite of falling oil and gas prices. This money should instead be spent on creating a level playing field for renewables.”

“If the UK government is to meet its’ international commitments to address climate change, it needs to take heed of the clear international consensus that the majority of existing oil, gas and coal reserves need to be left in the ground,” added Ms Whitley.

In November 2014, ODI launched ‘The fossil fuel bailout: G20 subsidies for oil, gas and coal exploration’ that revealed the UK government was spending £750 million a year into the declining North Sea oil and gas industry despite committing to phase out fossil fuel subsidies alongside other G20 nations.

Note to the editors:
Link to the autumn statement