HC Deb 04 May 1993 vol 224 cc17-8
Q6. Mr. Raymond S. Robertson

To ask the Prime Minister if he has any plans to visit Aberdeen in the near future.

The Prime Minister

I am making plans for a series of visits to all parts of the country and hope to include Scotland among them.

Mr. Robertson

If my right hon. Friend is able to visit Aberdeen at the end of the year, will he consider allowing his visit to coincide with the first wave of civil service relocations from the Department of Trade and Industry's London-based oil and gas division to Aberdeen? Will he consider opening the DTI's new Aberdeen office, which so vividly demonstrates the Government's commitment to Aberdeen, the north-east of Scotland and the North sea oil and gas industry?

The Prime Minister

I shall certainly consider that invitation if it comes to me through the appropriate sources and I am grateful to my hon. Friend for anticipating it. The fact that we are opening that office shows that we are committed to expand as and when companies move key functions to Aberdeen. It certainly shows our faith in the future of the North sea industry and the north-east of Scotland. The division will begin moving there in the autumn. I know how welcome that news is to my hon. Friend and how hard he worked to bring it about.

Mr. Robert Hughes

If the Prime Minister visits Aberdeen, will he recall that the petroleum revenue tax changes he proposes will give large windfall profits to very large companies, but will savagely attack small companies, especially those in the drilling and exploration sector? If he wishes to express his confidence in the North sea, would not it be better to change that to allow people to develop fields and exploration as and when they come?

The Prime Minister

As it happens, the reform improves the incentives for further development of existing fields and new development of important fields that would have paid tax at 83 per cent. That is good for investment, jobs, Aberdeen, the north-east, Scotland and the United Kingdom.

Madam Speaker

Order. Time is up. Ten-minute rule Bill, Mr. Anthony Steen. It would be helpful if lion. Members who are leaving the Chamber would do so quietly so that we may get on with our business here. I am sure that Mr. Steen is in good voice this afternoon.

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