Commenting on today’s budget Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, said:
“The sharp downward revisions in forecasts for economic growth should be ringing alarm bells about our economic prospects for the next few years. The Chancellor seems determined to reach his target of having a budget surplus by the end of this parliament when he should be doing what is needed to protect the recovery in the here and now.
“There were some aspects of the budget that were welcome for the Northern Isles. The continued freeze on the level of fuel duty is good news as are the reductions in taxes for the oil and gas industry in the North Sea. Having called for both these measures it would be churlish not to welcome them. The oil and gas industry needs continued care and attention as there seems little prospect of significant increases in the price of oil any time soon.
“This budget illustrates that the focus of all the machinery of government now is overwhelmingly on the EU referendum rather than the economic recovery. This should surprise no one but it is not what we need right now. It is clear that our economy already has substantial challenges ahead. Leaving the EU would only serve to make them worse.”