Oil and Gas Industry (Profits)

– in the Scottish Parliament am ar 22 Chwefror 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Anas Sarwar Anas Sarwar Llafur

2. We are in the middle of a cost of living crisis in which too many people are struggling to make ends meet. At the same time, oil and gas giants are making record profits. British Gas had a tenfold increase in profits in one year, making more than £700 million. BP has made a profit of £11 billion. Profit at TotalEnergies is £16 billion, and at Shell is £22 billion. Why does the First Minister think that those companies cannot afford to pay more tax?

Photo of Humza Yousaf Humza Yousaf Scottish National Party

A week after

The Press and Journal put Anas Sarwar’s face on its front page, with his Labour colleagues, and called him a traitor to the north-east, it is incredibly brave of him to come here and say that he is standing up for the north-east. [

Interruption

.]

The First Minister:

I travelled to the north-east this week and heard the palpable anger from the oil and gas and renewable energy sectors and industries. They spoke about Anas Sarwar’s plans and those of the Labour Party, which would—in the industry’s words, not mine—risk up to 100,000 jobs in the north-east. How does Anas Sarwar think that, in the midst of a cost of living crisis, throwing 100,000 workers on the scrap heap will help households up and down the country?

We absolutely believe in a windfall tax on energy companies. [

Interruption

.]

The Presiding Officer:

Members, let us hear the First Minister.

The First Minister:

What we do not believe in is Anas Sarwar’s and Labour’s aggressive plans to raid the north-east so that they can build new nuclear power plants in England. We will not allow that. We will not stand for it. We will stand up for the north-east. Anas Sarwar cannot even stand up to Keir Starmer.

Photo of Anas Sarwar Anas Sarwar Llafur

E very time that Labour has proposed a change to help working people, the warnings that have been made have not come true. In 1997, when Labour proposed a minimum wage and a windfall tax, it was warned that that would cost 2 million jobs. That did not happen. It improved the lives of working people across the country.

Humza Yousaf used to support Labour’s windfall tax, but now he is siding with energy giants, which are making record profits, while he is putting up tax for working people across this country who are struggling. [

Interruption

.]

Photo of Anas Sarwar Anas Sarwar Llafur

While Shell has brought in £22 billion in profit, energy bills have increased by 60 per cent and people are struggling to heat their homes. While BP makes £11 billion in profit, food prices are up by 25 per cent and people are struggling to put food on the table. While British Gas sees a tenfold increase in its profits, mortgages have increased by £2,000 a year and families risk losing their homes. Why does the Scottish National Party believe that someone who earns £28,500 has the broadest shoulders and should pay more tax, but that an energy giant that is making billions of pounds in profit should pay less tax?

The First Minister:

Imagine taking a lecture about standing up for those on the lowest incomes from the man who has flip-flopped on his position and now believes in lifting the cap on bankers’ bonuses. Wow—who would have thought it? Labour is now the party of the few, not the party of the many.

It is astonishing that Anas Sarwar has stood up in the chamber and called the energy industry liars. That is what he has done. Well, let me say what Offshore Energies UK has said. It claims that Labour’s proposals would result in the loss of up to 42,000 jobs and North Sea investment being “wiped out”. Investment bank Stifel has said that, under a “worst-case scenario”, Labour’s proposals would wipe out up to 100,000 jobs and put them on the scrap heap.

With Labour’s energy proposals, we would get the worst of both worlds. All the investment in oil and gas, which has been good for Scotland over the decades, would be completely wiped out. Then what does Keir Starmer do? He dumps his £28 billion a year green prosperity fund.

Scotland’s energy should be in Scotland’s hands, because successive Westminster Governments have raided the north-east, Aberdeen and our oil and gas revenues, and not a single penny has been invested back into the people of Aberdeen and the north-east. For that, Anas Sarwar should stand up and apologise.

Photo of Anas Sarwar Anas Sarwar Llafur

I cannot wait to present the choice at the next general election between the SNP and the Labour Party. [

Interruption

.]

The Presiding Officer:

Sorry, Mr Sarwar. Let us ensure that we can all hear one another.

Photo of Anas Sarwar Anas Sarwar Llafur

I cannot wait to present the choice to the Scottish people, come the next general election, because the SNP is firmly on the side of energy giants making billions of pounds, whereas Labour is trying to bring down people’s bills and is on the side of working people.

Let us be clear about what Labour’s windfall tax on the record profits of energy giants will be spent on. It will mean more jobs, lower bills, greater energy security and the delivery of a just transition for Scotland. It will mean investment in GB energy—[

Interruption

.]

Photo of Anas Sarwar Anas Sarwar Llafur

—a publicly owned energy generation company that will be headquartered here, in Scotland. It will mean investment in our ports, onshore wind, offshore wind, green hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, and strengthening our supply chains. It will mean creating 50,000 new jobs in Scotland.

Is it not the case that the Scottish people have a choice: the SNP, which is increasing tax on working people while siding with the oil and gas giants, or Labour, which will create jobs, bring down bills and be firmly on the side of working people?

The First Minister:

I remind Anas Sarwar that he talks about people in the midst of a cost of living crisis, but he has now flip-flopped his way to a position in which he believes in retaining the cap on child benefits but wants to lift the cap on bankers’ bonuses. That is utterly outrageous.

I was in Aberdeen earlier this week, and I now cannot wait to go head to head with Anas Sarwar in Aberdeen during the general election. In fact, he can debate the oil and gas industry and renewables with me in Aberdeen any and every day of the week.

Anas Sarwar claims that an incoming Labour Government will make all sorts of investments—[

Interruption

.]

The Presiding Officer:

First Minister, will you just give me a moment?

The First Minister:

Oh, they do not like it, Presiding Officer. They do not like it one single bit.

The Presiding Officer:

First Minister, just give me a moment. Let us ensure that we carry on with our proceedings with courtesy and respect. Let us ensure that we can hear one another.

The First Minister:

Anas Sarwar claims that there will be a range and raft of investment from an incoming Labour Government. Of course, what is obvious is that the branch manager did not get the memo that the £28 billion has been dumped, so not a single penny of that investment will be coming to Scotland.

Successive United Kingdom Governments have taken £400 billion, in today’s prices, in oil and gas revenue, raiding the North Sea as a cash cow without investing a fraction of it back in the north-east and Aberdeen. With Anas Sarwar’s plans, we would end up with 100,000 workers on the scrap heap and no investment in our net zero ambitions. Is it not about time that Scotland’s energy is in Scotland’s hands?

The Presiding Officer:

Question 3Maggie Chapman. [

Interruption

.] Let us hear Ms Chapman.