The dramatically falling oil price may be providing a boost for motorists in Moray – but it may also have a “huge effect” on jobs in the region.
That was the warning being provided by Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy when he visited Aberdeen on Tuesday where he called for an ‘oil summit’ to look into ways the industry could be protected through its current crisis – including an emergency fund being set up by the Scottish Government.
Mr Murphy’s move has been backed by Moray Labour councillor Sean Morton, who will contest the Moray seat in May’s general election.
Cllr Morton said: “Anyone watching the news will see that the price of oil has plummeted to around $50 a barrel – half of what the SNP Independence White Paper predicted.
“This is causing concern right across Moray – where the oil industry puts food on the table of many families.
“There is no doubt the oil crisis will have a huge effect on jobs, with thousands of workers facing either lay-offs or pay cuts. Our oil crisis action plan would temporarily cut business rates to help the economy here in Moray and across the North East and would ensure we can weather the storm.
“And that is why I support Aberdeen City Council’s call for an Oil summit – and so should all Moray politicians.
“So far neither the Tory Government nor the SNP Government has been able to agree a date for this to take place. That’s disappointing. I hope local politicians of all colours will put pressure on the Scottish and UK governments to set a date for the summit.”
However, the call from Jim Murphy that the Scottish Government should step in with cash to aid the industry through the crisis is being cited as ‘bare faced cheek’.
SNP MSP Kevin Stewart said: “It would take a certain level of bare faced cheek to insist that oil and gas revenues continue to go to Westminster but the bill for helping the industry through a bad spell should be sent to Holyrood.”