Brown under attack for oil tax plans
The chancellor has come under fire from business lobbying groups over the Treasury's plans to place an extra 10% tax on North Sea oil production.
The tax was announced in the 2002 Budget as part of a restructuring of the tax system.
But the Scottish Council for Development and Industry called the tax regime unstable and out of touch with economic reality and said it would damage investor confidence.
And the UK Offshore Operators Association, which represents the major oil companies, said 50,000 jobs were under threat as a result of the proposal.
The government has defended the tax saying it struck the right balance between promoting investment and taking an adequate share profits.
A spokesperson told the BBC Online: ‘The package announced in the Budget by the chancellor was designed to ensure companies pay a fair share of tax on profits from the exploitation of a national resource.’