I recently wrote to our MP, Siobhan Baillie, to vote against the Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill and here's why.

The Government is trying to persuade the general public that offering new licensing will bring energy prices down. However, it is private companies that will benefit from these new licences should they be issued, and they will sell the energy on the open market to the highest bidder - the UK Government has no control over what they do with the energy they produce. The Government may argue that they will receive tax revenues from the energy companies but as the former Conservative Chancellor, George Osborne, reduced the tax on North Sea oil to around $2 per barrel (which is way below the tax rate of most other countries), this will produce a very small return.

The UK Government should act in the interests of UK citizens, not private oil companies. Increasing the extraction of North Sea oil will do nothing to decrease energy prices for UK households.

In addition, all the scientific advice on the climate crisis advises that no new oil and gas licences should be issued if we are to do anything to limit our carbon emissions - new licences are incompatible with curbing emissions. Many Stroud constituents take the climate crisis very seriously and want to see consistent action on the issue from this and any future government.

I expect our MP will vote (or will have voted) with the Government for this bill (although it would be great to hear otherwise) but it would be interesting to see how it can be argued that issuing new licences provides any tangible benefits for British people.

Liz Hillary