MPs push for higher fracking returns for councils

Lancashire MPs have remained largely unimpressed by David Cameron's announcement that local councils which allow fracking will be able to keep all of the business rates they receive instead of the standard 50 per cent.

Now, in a bid to encourage councils to green-light fracking sites, the government has pledged to allow councils to keep millions in tax revenue, arguing that it will also create tens of thousands of jobs and lower the country's energy bills.

The prime minister estimated that the moves could raise more than £2m per council per year, and more than £10m from each well over the course of its life.

Lib Dem MP for Burnley Gordon Birtwistle, Conservative MP for Wyre and Preston North, Ben Wallace, Labour MP for Blackburn Jack Straw, Lancaster and Fleetwood Conservative MP Eric Ollerenshaw, Conservative MP for Rossendale and Darwen Jake Berry, Conservative MP for Bury North David Nuttall MP and Labour MP for Hyndburn Graham Jones have together written a letter asking for a 10 per cent share in profits instead.

"Many of us will become champions of the industry, but without some significant retention of the revenues, and therefore the benefits of Shale Gas exploration we would find it difficult to support further development in Lancashire."

“There is potentially £266bn of extractable gas in the Bowland Shale and it is only right Lancashire gets to keep a sizeable proportion of the profits. The government will eventually take 62 per cent tax on a gas pad which could amount to billions. Many of us feel the treasury should take a little less and the county get a little more."

Cuadrilla chief executive Francis Egan said: “The Foundation is an excellent partner with a strong track record of working with communities to help identify appropriate causes and means of disseminating these community funds. “We are committed to being a good neighbour and it will be for local people to decide for themselves – with the help of the Community Foundation for Lancashire – how this money will be spent.”

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