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Ed Balls calls for support for North Sea oil industry

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls has written an article calling for the protection of the North Sea oil industry amid plummeting oil prices.

Writing in the Press and Journal ahead of a visit to Aberdeen with Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy, he warned that the industry was "at a cross-roads" and called for a resilience fund for oil workers and tax incentives:

The oil industry is vital to the Scottish economy and nobody can doubt it needs support. There's nothing to stop the SNP Government in Edinburgh setting this up now. There's no time to waste ...

We need to see urgent action to improve the tax incentives for North Sea oil investment. And if George Osborne fails to act then I am clear that, after the general election in May, a UK Labour government will. Because failing to act will not only risk jobs and investment now, it will also cost the UK taxpayer in the long-term as we lose revenue from oil that gets left in the ground.

– ed balls, shadow chancellor

SNP urges Scottish Labour to back North Sea measures

The Scottish National Party (SNP) has called on Scottish Labout to back its proposals for alleviating pressure on the North Sea oil and gas industry.

Speaking ahead of a debate on the subject in the House of Commons, SNP Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said:

Every day without action from the UK Government risks further damage to the oil and gas industry. Businesses and oil workers in the North Sea do not need to wait for another review, they need action now.

Labour must give their full support to the immediate reduction in the supplementary charge and support an exploration tax credit that would secure a strong future for the North Sea.

– Fergus Ewing, scottish energy minister

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Scottish Labour calls for North Sea resilience fund

Scottish Labour is calling for a resilience fund to be made available for those whose livelihoods depend on the North Sea oil and gas industry.

It has also suggested reducing business rates on the sector as a temporary measure to "allow the business to stabilise or to mitigate the impact of large scale redundancies".

Labour's shadow Scottish secretary Margaret Curran accused both Westminster and Holyrood of inaction:

We need the UK Government to come forward with their long term plan for the industry to provide operators with some certainty, and we need the Scottish Government to set up a Resilience Fund so that Aberdeen and the surrounding areas do not have to bear the brunt of losses in the industry.

– Margaret Curran, shadow Scottish secretary

Government urged to take action over North Sea jobs

The Government will be urged to take action to save jobs in the North Sea oil and gas industry during a House of Commons debate on the situation today.

A BP platform around 100 miles east of Aberdeen Credit: Andy Buchanan/PA Wire

The industry is facing the loss of jobs and future investment as a result of the plummeting price of oil on global markets.

North Sea oil and gas provides about 450,000 jobs, with a high concentration in Aberdeen where it supports more than half of all jobs.

Labour's shadow Scottish secretary Margaret Curran said this could be the biggest threat to Scottish jobs in more than 20 years and urged the Scottish and UK Governments to "take the action that is needed".

Clegg: £5bn local fund ends years of Govt bossiness

Nick Clegg has hailed government plans for a £5billion regional pot as opening a new era for England's regions.

"This is something that turns a page of decades, generations of over-centralised bossiness from Whitehall," the Deputy Prime Minister told Good Morning Britain.

"I'm really excited because you just get a lot more bang for your buck."

Employers say graduate jobs up by 11.6%

Research based on responses from 100 leading graduate employers, including firms such as PwC, Jaguar Land Rover and Unilever reveals an 11.6% increase in job openings this year.

Study says graduate employers jobs up 11.6% Credit: PA

Overall recruitment has returned to the same level as 2007 - before the start of the recession.

The biggest number of vacancies is in accounting and professional services (4,442 vacancies available), the public sector (3,415 job openings), investment banking (2,148 openings) and engineering and industrial (1,650 vacancies).

In total, 11 out of 13 industries have seen a year-one-year rise in vacancies for graduates.

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Govt's £5bn regional pot 'falls short of Labour plans'

The shadow business secretary has dismissed an extra £5 billion spending on regional growth as falling "far short" of Labour plans.

Mr Umanna said that Labour would devolve £30 bn in spending to the regions Credit: PA

Labour MP Chuka Umunna said that the Conservative-led coalition had failed to deliver on promises to rebalance England's economy and ensure growth was not concentrated in the capital.

"Instead we've seen things go into reverse as regions and local areas have been held back," he said.

He said that a Labour Government would allow regional authorities to take over £30 billion of spending across the country.

Cameron: regional pot can create thousands of jobs

The prime minister David Cameron has said that an extra £5 billion in investment for England's regions over the next five years will help to kick-start growth across theUK outside of the capital.

The 'growth deals' will offer investment for local authorities and businesses Credit: PA

"For too long our economy has been too London-focused and too centralised. Growth deals will help change all that," he said.

He said that the scheme could turn regional towns and cities in economic "powerhouses" and create thousands of new jobs. "

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who chairs the local growth cabinet committee, also hailed the announcement as marking the end of a culture of "Whitehall knows best" and helping to end an over-reliance on the banks and the City of London.

Government plans £5bn extra regional spending

England's regions are set to benefit from an extra £5 billion in investment under Government plans to re-balance the country's economy and create thousands of new jobs outside the capital.

David Cameron has said that the cash could create thousands of jobs Credit: PA

The cash will be allocated to local authorities and businesses through a series of local "growth deals" for investment in projects including building new homes, improving transport links and opening up new training opportunities.

Officials said that the funding, which would be released over five years from 2015, would lead to work on over 150 roads, 150 housing developments and 20 stations as well as create new jobs and training opportunities outside the capital.

Top employers receive 39 applications per graduate job

Research suggests that top employers received around 39 applications for every graduate job this year amid a rise in vacancies.

Top employers receive 39 applications per graduate job. Credit: PA

A new study reveals that the number of graduate level openings available has now returned to pre-recession levels, with big increases in industries such as the media, engineering and consultancy.

Overall, a third of graduate employers have stepped up recruitment in the last six months, taking on more university graduates than they expected, according to an annual survey conducted by High Fliers Research.

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