Bakers Bulletin - Oil summit held

With over 133,000 jobs in the North-east dependent on the oil and gas industry, and almost half of these directly supported by North Sea operations, the falling oil price has been of huge concern locally.

This week, Aberdeen City Council hosted an Oil Summit which Aberdeenshire Council also attended.

The summit brought together the three tiers of government, UK, Scottish and local, as well as the industry and trade unions, to discuss the current climate in the North Sea and what could be done to better support the industry, in light of the falling oil price.

This idea was innovative and credit must go to Aberdeen City Council leader Jenny Laing for driving the summit forward.

Scottish Labour has developed an Oil Action Plan, in light of these recent events. This includes the establishment of a resilience fund, which could be used in exceptional circumstances to allow a response to meet specific local needs.

This can include looking at business rates where, on a temporary basis, they may be reduced to help stabilise or to mitigate the impact of large scale redundancies on the local economy. But this is only part of the bigger picture, which will include action from all tiers of government.

What is certainly clear is that the fall in oil price has had, and continues to have, a serious impact on employment in our local community. It has been calculated that there could be as many as 15,750 job losses across the country, which is equal to one in 12 jobs in the sector being at risk in Scotland.

This will clearly have a significant effect here in the North-east, where many of those jobs will be based. Of course, the impact will not only be felt in oil and gas sector jobs but also in the service sector, where demand for services like hotels, which I raised concerns over recently, have been experiencing a drop in demand.

That is why, with so many jobs at risk, the Oil Summit has been such an important idea. Bringing together all interested parties to work together to ensure that the impact of the dropping oil price can be mitigated.