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Fracking firms will pay even less tax

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Issue 2364

Fracking firms will pay just 30 percent tax on future shale production. 

That’s less than half the 62 percent for new North Sea oil fields, which was already a discount from the original 81 percent.

Osborne’s generosity may have something to do with people like Lord Browne, who is both a director of Cuadrilla and an advisor to the Cabinet Office.

Or Guy Robinson, a senior aide to Tory environment secretary Owen Paterson who previously worked for the lobby firm run by David Cameron’s advisor Lynton Crosby. Its clients included fracking lobbyists in Australia.

But it also reflects the fact that fracking is still a huge gamble. 

No one can quite agree how much gas there is in Britain, and how much of it can be accessed.

New official figures from the British Geological Survey say the north of England alone contains more than twice as much gas as was previously estimated for the whole of Britain.

This is good news for firms that bid for extraction rights based on low estimates and can now tell their shareholders about much higher figures. 

But it’s also the subject of fierce debate within the Tory party about whether fracking will be their golden ticket or their white elephant.

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