§ 9. Mr. Hannam
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is his estimate of the United Kingdom share of orders placed in 1980 for goods and services for development of the United Kingdom continental shelf.
§ Mr. Hannam
Is my hon. Friend aware that some large oil rig contracts are going to countries such as Korea and Taiwan? Is he satisfied that unfair subsidies are not being applied by some Governments?
§ Mr. Gray
There have been many accusations and much speculation about unfair subsidy and whether it has been paid in countries such as Korea and Taiwan. Unfortunately, my Department has been unable to establish the facts. If the hon. Gentleman or anyone else can provide us with sufficient evidence, we shall be happy to follow it up.
§ Mr. Douglas
Will the hon. Gentleman give us some assurance that the Government's proposed tax changes are not holding up significant orders?
§ Mr. Gray
I know of no orders that are being held up because of any proposals to change the tax regime. As my right hon. Friend said during the recent debate, all the blocks that were offered in the first tranche of licences in the seventh round have been taken up by the oil companies, and all the £5 million deposits have been paid.
§ Mr. Bill Walker
Will my hon. Friend confirm that every assistance is being given by his Department to ensure that Scottish companies enjoy the benefits of North Sea oil?