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Government adviser: North Sea oil industry 'winding down'

The North Sea oil industry has been hit by falling prices in recent months. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

The North Sea oil industry is "winding down", a government adviser has said amid concerns over the tumbling value of the commodity.

Sir Ian Wood - founder of the Wood Group, which conducted a recent review of offshore oil and gas recovery for the government - said workers in Aberdeen must start planning for the future "pretty quickly" after taking it "for granted" for many years.

He told the Times' Scottish edition that employees and politicians "need to change their thinking".

"There is a potential way (forward) with the right kind of plan, and the right kind of people, and the right kind of local authority and the right kind of reception from the Scottish and UK governments to work our way through this"

The fact is that it will begin to wind down in the next ten years. The fact is it is winding down now, actually, but very slowly.

– Sir Ian Wood

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Sturgeon: SNP MPs may vote on English issues

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that SNP MPs in Westminster will end their self-imposed ban on voting on English issues in the next parliament.

In an interview with BBC News, she defended the move saying that issues like privatising parts of the health service could have consequences for the Scottish budget.

Speaking ahead of a meeting with the Prime Minister on devolving powers to Holyrood, she said that the move was primarily to protest Scottish interests:

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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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