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‘Chancellor is an oil hypocrite’

Chancellor Gordon Brown’s aggressive taxation of North Sea oil exploration amounts to “manipulative hypocrisy”, says one of the UK’s highest-profile fund managers.

Framlington income manager George Luckraft says Brown’s criticism of Opec’s high oil prices is at odds with his socialist policies.

Brown says Opec is restricting oil supplies and is not investing sufficiently in new production but Luckraft says it is the Chancellor’s aggressive taxation of North Sea oil drilling companies that is responsible for the shortage of new investment in the region.

Luckraft hit out at the Chancellor in strong terms in an interview with Money Marketing. His comments come as oil prices break $70 a barrel and Brown faces pressure to reduce the tax burden on petrol.

Luckraft says: “I am not a fan of the Chancellor. Having attacked Opec for its high oil prices, he is the same Chancellor who has increased taxes on North Sea oil production, and plans to do so further, totally reducing the investment potential of the region. He tries to say things to be popular but the reality is completely different. He is a manipulative hypocrite.”

Hargreaves Lansdown head of research Mark Dampier says: “Gordon Brown’s attack on Opec was a bit strange because the problem is with refineries rather than production. Luckraft is entitled to express his opinion and I agree with him, by and large.”

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