The Chancellor’s National Insurance hike is a kick in the teeth for oil and gas contractors, according to Aberdeen South MP Callum McCaig.
Philip Hammond announced a 2% rise in National Insurance contributions for self-employed workers in his spring Budget.
Mr McCaig, the SNP’s Westminster energy spokesman said the news would be a bombshell for North-east workers.
He said: “The big bombshell in the Budget is the hike in National Insurance for the self-employed, which will have a huge increase across the economy.
“The oil and gas industry will be hit in particular as we have thousands of oil and gas contractors who will see their income squeezed at a time when both work and rates have dropped off dramatically.
“It will come as a real kick in the teeth for contractors in the oil and gas sector.”
Mr McCaig said the Chancellor should have gone much further to support the ailing industry.
He said: “I don’t think anyone found the announcement about an expert panel and a review surprising.
“This is just a re-heated commitment from last year and clearly lacks any sense of urgency.
“You have to ask when the UK Government will deliver on anything, rather than prevaricate and set up a talking shop.”
However, Aberdeenshire West MSP Alexander Burnett, the Scottish Conservative energy spokesman, praised the Budget.
He said: “I welcome the Chancellor’s announcement of an expert panel to explore how tax reform could make it easier for operators to sell mature fields.
“The transfer of decommissioning tax relief could help to prolong the life of ageing assets and prevent the early break-up of infrastructure in the North Sea.
“I said at the Scottish Conservative conference last weekend that, while we are seeing signs of recovery in the oil and gas sector, we always need to be vigilant and listen to the industry.
“The measures announced, the latest in a package worth £2.3 billion in the last three years, make it clear that the North-east can continue to rely on the broad shoulders of the United Kingdom.”
Unite the Union called for trade union representatives to sit on the planned expert review panel.