UK & World News
PM Lands On Rig To Push Scottish Union Case
David Cameron landed at an oil rig more than 100 miles off the coast of Scotland as part of a visit to promote the economic benefits of remaining part of the UK.
The Prime Minister took a helicopter from Aberdeen to the BP Etap platform 134 miles offshore where he met with workers.
Afterwards, he said the UK's "broad shoulders" provide stability for the industry to invest.
"Because we're a top 10 economy we can afford the tax allowances, the investment, the long-term structure that's necessary to make sure we recover as much from the North Sea as possible," he said.
But the claim was dismissed by Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond.
He said: "All you have to do is glance across the North Sea to Norway which is smaller than Scotland but by every estimation has handled its oil and gas resources much better."
Mr Cameron will hold a cabinet meeting in Aberdeen later this afternoon, just seven miles away from where Mr Salmond held his cabinet meeting this morning.
It is only the second meeting of the UK cabinet north of the border in 90 years.
The leader of the Scottish National Party has repeatedly demanded a televised debate with the Prime Minister over Scotland's independence, ahead of a referendum in September.
But the Prime Minister has said Alistair Darling - as the leader of the 'no' campaign - is the person to debate.
Mr Salmond used the pair's close proximity to lay down the gauntlet to the Prime Minister, and asked him to commit to a debate.
He said: "Since we're both in the same place at roughly the same time why don't we have a debate?
"I think there's a difference between jetting into Scotland and jetting out again and having a real democratic debate about the future of the country."
The meetings of the UK and Scottish cabinets have been timed to coincide with the publication of a review of the oil industry by retired tycoon Sir Ian Wood.
He said a shake-up of North Sea oil regulation could provide a £200bn boost to the UK economy.
The measures contained in Sir Ian's report, which the Government will fast-track for implementation, include the creation of a new independent regulator to supervise licensing.
Education secretary Michael Gove told Sky News the UK acts as a "shock absorber" to Scotland over oil price fluctuations.
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