Politics UK: Culloden

Full Version: National Exploration Company Bill 1992
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National Exploration Company Bill 1992

Mr Speaker,

Under the proposals before Members today, this government is seeking approval for the creation of a nationally owned administrative company to oversee the exploration and extraction of oil and gas near the Falklands.

The National Exploration Company will exist to run the bidding process for firms to extract Falklands oil, and will build and maintain the basic infrastructure required by them.

But, Mr Speaker, it is far more than an arm of bureaucracy - it is an essential component of this government’s long term economic strategy.

Estimates suggest that the Falklands territorial waters contain upto £70bn worth of oil, equating to hundreds of thousands of barrels being extracted every day. Under the government’s proposals, this will see an extraordinary inflow of wealth into the country for decades to come.

Profits returned to the Exchequer will be invested into a new Sovereign Wealth Fund – providing an extraordinary, long term, sustainable pot that will benefit all Britons. The Chancellor will set out more regarding this in due course.

By working with private firms for the handling of extraction and sale, this country will benefit from the combination of private sector economic sensibility, and valuable and sustainable national assets. It is evidence that there exists a sensible and effective middle ground between mass privatisation and extreme nationalisation.

Mr Speaker, the position of the government is clear - Britain should collectively reap the reward, of that which men from all walks of life have laid down their lives to defend. As a nation, and as individuals united in our sense of national pride, we shall prosper.

I commend this bill to the House - and I beg that it be printed and read a second time.
ORDER! Second reading!
Mr. Speaker,

I thank the Prime Minister for presenting this bill today.

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister knows that the Opposition has raised multiple points of concern in regards to the bill before us today - or, more specifically speaking, the strategy behind the bill. The truth is, we simply don't know how much oil there is in the Falklands territory. And we do know it will take many years for that oil to materialise. Giving the short life span of her predecessors, it'll be unlikely she'll ever be in office when such oil materialises. Even if she lasted the same period of time as the Countess of Finchley, she will probably only see the very beginnings of the oil's wealth: and that, Mr. Speaker, is if we're being optimistic. 

Essentially speaking, the Prime Minister is making promises she cannot commit to.

But even worse Mr. Speaker, she is essentially forming a whole economic strategy around guess at best and fairytale at worst. That uncertainty is not appropriate for a time like this. We can invest in the NHS with the wealth we have now, we can invest in education with the wealth we have now and we can invest in the British people with the wealth we have now. The government is choosing not to do this in the whim they can do an accounting trick in the future - meanwhile, they cut education, squeeze local government funding and bid off Britain, bit by bit.

With that said, Mr. Speaker, there is nothing in the contents of the bill which is inherently objectionable. We agree with the Prime Minister that the Falklands is British, and we have the right to enjoy its wealth. And should that wealth be found in a decade's time, it is right that it is used for the good of the public instead of in private interests. The idea of such a company being mostly in public hands is the kind of ethos the opposition have longed call for, and stands in stark contrast to a government that used North Sea oil to give a huge handout to the wealthy instead of invest in Britain, that is continuing to bid off our energy sector and is even willing to outsources this nation's very defences.

In short, the bill is a tacit admission that government policy up to this moment has been a failure. In short, Mr. Speaker, the opposition will not stand in this bill's way.
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