UK offers world's most generous tax breaks to shale gas industry

The UK government is looking to boost the country's shale gas industry by offering the world's "most generous" tax regime to shale companies, the BBC reports.

George Osborne, the U.K. chancellor of the exchequer, is behind the proposal and suggests cutting taxes from 62% to 30%.

"I want Britain to be a leader of the shale gas revolution because it has the potential to create thousands of jobs and keep energy bills low for millions of people," Osborne told the BBC.

The UK does not currently extract the natural gas but several companies hold exploration licenses.

Osborne also confirmed that companies will give £100,000 to communities in which they operate as and up to 1% of their revenues.

Studies by the British Geological Survey suggest that the small island nation has abundant shale deposits and is home to the world's larges shale gas field, the Bowland Shale located underneath Lancashire and Yorkshire.

The UK has been a net importer of gas since 2004 and the current government is looking to mirror the US's success in reducing net imports with domestic hydraulic fracturing.

A spokesperson for Friends of the Earth criticized the Chancellor's actions.

"Promising tax hand-outs to polluting energy firms that threaten our communities and environment, when everyone else is being told to tighten their belts, is a disgrace," he told the BBC.

Environmental opponents to the mining operations fear that the fracturing process pollute water systems, provoke seismic activity and pull investment away from renewable energy sources.

Earlier this year Poland also made itself more attractive to the shale industry, offering not to collect taxes until 2020 after several major gas producers abandoned operations in the county.

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