Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of the Green Party told some egregious lies yesterday.
Yesterday, 10 November 2017, he accused UK fracking companies of being propped-up by government subsidies and claimed they wouldn't pay any tax here.
It amounts to libel, because there isn't a shred of truth to it.
Firstly, the government hasn't given the industry a penny, unlike renewable energy companies that have raked-in £billions in subsidies in the last decade. The closest it's come is to offer tax breaks that would enable fracking companies to recover their exploration costs before paying any tax on future profits - but this is still not a subsidy in the true sense of the word.
Secondly, regardless of where a UK fracking company or its ultimate parent is based, its profits on the sale of oil and gas extracted in the UK are taxed in the UK. They can't be taken offshore and hidden away in the Cayman Islands or other low-tax jurisdiction. The rules on this were developed decades ago to ensure that foreign-owned entities operating in the North Sea and extracting oil and gas from the UK Continental Shelf paid their dues rather than taking their profits elsewhere. As a result, it's predicted that the North Sea industry will have paid £57 billion in taxes by 2018.
This is OUR oil and gas. It may be vested in the Crown for the benefit of the State, but it is ours. The companies that extract and sell it are allowed to do so on the basis that any profits they generate are taxed here for the good of the people, regardless of where their companies are registered or their investors are situated.
Jonathan Bartley owes the industry and all the people it currently employs an apology for his claims. It was a cheap political shot and he should be ashamed of himself for taking it.
If he doesn't apologise, the industry should consider suing him for libel - just because he's the co-leader of a political party (and a minority one at that) it doesn't mean that the normal rule of law doesn't apply to him.