Fracking tax break deal blasted

A worker at one of Cuadrilla Resources' fracking sites and (below) the Rt Hon The Lord Howell.
A worker at one of Cuadrilla Resources' fracking sites and (below) the Rt Hon The Lord Howell.
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Protest group Defend Lytham has raised concerns after the Government gave the fracking industry ‘the most generous tax breaks package in the world’.

Protest group Defend Lytham has raised concerns after the Government gave the fracking industry ‘the most generous tax breaks package in the world’.

The Government today released further details of the tax breaks, to encourage investment in this financially high risk area.

The new shale gas allowance will more than halve the tax due.

Defend Lytham is concerned that Chancellor George Osborne has pressed ahead with the subsidy, even against the advice of shale gas advocates like Peter Lilley MP and the industry itself.

Mr Lilley reiterated in Parliament yesterday his view that these tax breaks are “completely unnecessary”. And the group, calling for an extended moratorium on fracking on the Fylde coast, saysCuadrilla CEO Francis Egan is on record as saying that his company is “not asking for a special regime”.

And Defend Lytham has raised further concerns the government has failed to provide details of the new planning guidance which were due tio be published by July 18 at the latest.

The controversial fracking process sees water and chemicals fired at high speed into shale rock, releasing trapped gasses.

Protesters believe the chemicals will migrate into the water table and cause an environmental disaster, but Cuadrilla, the firm spearheading fracking on the Fylde coas, says the practice can be carried out safely under the strongest safety regime in the world.

Defend Lytham spokesman and industry expert, Mike Hill, said: “We are being told by the Chancellor that fracking is some sort of economic miracle but it seems that it also needs five times as many incentives (tax breaks/subsidies) as the renewable alternatives.

“It is now common knowledge that the USA will export cheap gas to the UK – cheaper than we can get it ourselves from our closest ally – so the energy security and financial case for subsidising fracking with taxpayers’ money is just not there.

“We have to ask why does Osborne carry on wasting our money?”

“A government which ensures that a controversial industry is subsidised before it sorts out the associated planning environment, and which spends more time of publicising cash incentives for local communities that it does in ensuring we have effective regulation in place to protect those communities has it’s priorities very, very wrong.”

Fracking protesters are set to stage a mass rally on Lytham Green, at the windmill, from 2pm to 6pm on Saturday.

A multitude of anti-fracking groups are joining forces to stage the event, and a large number of people are expected to attend as fears over the environmental impact of the industry grow.