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It’s time for SNP and Tory MPs to pick a side on windfall tax – Anas Sarwar

Labour has suggested a windfall tax could help to ease the cost-of-living crisis (Jacob King/PA)
Labour has suggested a windfall tax could help to ease the cost-of-living crisis (Jacob King/PA)

Scottish Labour is urging the SNP and Scottish Tories at Westminster to “pick a side” between oil giants and citizens ahead of a debate calling for a windfall tax on energy firms.

Labour will put forward an amendment to the Queen’s Speech in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

The party has repeatedly suggested the introduction of a windfall tax for oil and gas giants, who are reporting record profits, in order to help ease the cost-of-living crisis.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said on Sunday he would be opposed to the idea as it would deter new investment, but Mel Stride, who chairs the Treasury Select Committee, said on Monday that “there is a case” for the proposal.

Anas Sarwar, the party’s leader in Scotland, said MPs from the SNP and the Tories cannot continue to refuse backing the idea when so many are struggling across the country.

Mr Sarwar said: “At the local elections, the voice of the people of Scotland was clear – action is needed now on the cost-of-living crisis.

“Thousands of Scots are being forced to choose between eating and heating – with parents tragically skipping meals to make sure their kids are fed.

“This is completely unacceptable – but both the SNP and the Tories are refusing to take the action needed to tackle this crisis.

“While thousands of Scots are bearing the brunt of soaring energy bills, oil and gas giants are posting record profits and raking in tens of thousands of pounds in profit a minute.

“The SNP and Scottish Tories simply cannot continue to fail to back plans for a one-off windfall tax on the oil and gas giants to help struggling families.

“Tomorrow, SNP and Tory MPs will have to pick a side – big oil giants or the people of Scotland.”

Scottish Conservative energy spokesman Liam Kerr said: “Rather than tax our way out of a crisis, the UK should continue to take a demand-led, transitional and sensible approach to oil and gas production to meet our domestic demands which will in turn help lower household bills.

Liam Kerr
Scottish Tory Liam Kerr is against the idea of a windfall tax (Fraser Bremner/Scottish Daily Mail/PA)

“The threat of a windfall tax will only deter investment at a time when the sector is already transitioning to renewables, helping to reduce energy costs to consumers.

“As long as they continue to oppose further North Sea oil and gas production, Labour have no credibility on energy security, energy jobs and rising energy costs.

“Once again, they are bowing down to the SNP-Green Government on energy instead of protecting tens of thousands of jobs and increasing investor confidence.

“Only the Scottish Conservatives are committed to supporting our domestic oil and gas industry while others like Anas Sarwar and Nicola Sturgeon are recklessly trying to put a stop to it.”

Kirsten Oswald MP, SNP Deputy Westminster Leader, said: “Anas Sarwar has campaigned tooth and nail to prevent the Scottish Parliament having the powers to introduce its own windfall tax.

“The SNP has been clear – the UK government must introduce a windfall tax on large companies who made excessive profits to help struggling families. But the windfall tax cannot be a smash and grab on oil and gas companies in the north east of Scotland, which is Labour’s plan as it stands. The tax must be wide-ranging across industries, and fair.”