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Prime minister hints at more help for beleaguered oil and gas industry after plight of the east coast industry raised

PUBLISHED: 13:07 27 January 2016 | UPDATED: 13:07 27 January 2016

Oil and Gas platform

Oil and Gas platform

Anna Henly,Shell International Ltd except external advertising

Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to build a bridge to the future for those involved it the oil and gas industry.

Waveney MP Peter Aldous, who was the first up in the weekly House of Commons question time, said there were “serious challenges” in the North Sea, urging Mr Cameron to assure him that he recognised the seriousness of the situation

He called for more to be done if the industry was to “first survive and then thrive”.

The prime minister highlighted that the oil price decline had been the longest in 20 years, and nearly the steepest, acknowledging that the effects could be seen in the east.

He said he was set to head to the oil hub of Aberdeen in Scotland tomorrow after the issue had been discussed with his cabinet.
“I am determined we build a bridge to the future for all those involved in the North Sea,” he said.

He also indicated that he would be “saying more” tomorrow about what help could be given to the industry.

Mr Aldous said earlier this month that the oil and gas industry was fighting for its very existence on the UK continental shelf.

The chairman of the all-party group on offshore oil and gas in Westminster told MPs the supplementary charge and the petroleum revenue tax should be reduced further or abolished, with more funding made available for seismic surveys provided.

Last year’s budget saw the petroleum revenue tax (PRT) cut from 50pc to 35pc to support continued production in older fields, with the existing supplementary charge for oil companies also be cut from 30pc to 20pc.

About 75,000 jobs have gone in the industry in the past 15 months as a result of the dramatic collapse in oil prices.

Suffolk County Council’s element of tax bills this year will see the biggest percentage rise since the notorious 18.5% hike in 2003.

Campaigners fighting proposals for a new nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast claim drone footage of Hinkley Point shows what a “massive, life-changing, countryside-destroying intrusion” Sizewell C would be.

Sixteen homes are to be bought by Colchester Borough Council at an estimated cost of £2.9million in a bid to tackle homelessness – as council tax in the borough is set to rise.

Police have released a CCTV image of a man they would like to speak to in connection with an assault in Chelmsford.

Proposals to build a new multi-million pound rail depot at Brantham on the Suffolk/Essex border have been jeopardised because it would force too many trains to use the level crossing at Manningtree station, it has emerged.

Lorry drivers have reported being shot at while driving along an A14 diversion route in east Suffolk.

Detectives are continuing to appeal for information nearly three weeks after the attempted rape of a woman in Witham.

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