Westminster will today be urged to back fracking and “get behind natural gas from shale”, according to a letter received by the Financial Times yesterday.

The letter was organised by the North West Energy Task Force, a pro-fracking group, and was signed by 25 economists. It said shale gas ‘exploitation’ could create thousands of jobs, ease the pressure on manufacturers, generate export-led growth and boost tax revenue.

This would be particularly relevant for contractors who found their jobs reduced when more companies started outsourcing to cheaper countries overseas.

Fracking is in it’s early stages in the UK but has already attracted nationwide attention and prompted a heated debate, with some strong resistance, particularly in the north where exploration has already taken place.

Opponents believe the process can pollute groundwater and trigger earthquakes. There is also concern for local infrastructure, especially in rural areas.

David Cameron voiced his support for the shale gas industry in a speech to business leaders at Davos last month. He said his government was going “all out for shale”, announcing that local councils would be able to use fracking to keep business rates generated.

Bob Rothschild, professor of economic at Lancaster University, told the Financial Times:

 “There are many arguments from an economic point of view for developing this technology. The British economy and northwest in particular could benefit hugely.”