Yousaf: Tory MPs will be punished by voters if they back windfall tax extension

Conservative MPs in the north-east of Scotland who back the windfall tax extension will be punished at the general election, Humza Yousaf has said.

The First Minister accused the Scottish Tories – including leader Douglas Ross and UK Government energy minister Andrew Bowie – of selling out the region.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced in his Budget earlier this week that the levy on oil and gas profits will be extended by a further 12 months to 2029.

Mr Ross and Mr Bowie have both criticised the decision, with the former – who is the MP for Moray – stating he will vote against the extension in the House of Commons.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said he retains confidence in his energy minister Mr Bowie, after the West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP later clarified his support for the Budget.

Social Care reform
Scottish Tory MP and UK energy minister Andrew Bowie (UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA)

Speaking on Friday, Mr Yousaf criticised the comment, adding a vote for the extension will be a “betrayal” of the north east.

He told the PA news agency: “All of the Scottish Conservatives, Andrew Bowie included, have clearly sold out the north east.

“Andrew Bowie doing it so he can keep his ministerial car and ministerial salary. He will need to explain that to the electorate come the general election.

“He can bet everything that we will certainly be reminding every single person in the north east about what is frankly a betrayal of the north east from the UK Government.

“We don’t oppose windfall tax. We actually support a windfall tax, one of the first parties to be calling for a windfall tax.

Douglas Ross
Douglas Ross has criticised the decision to extend the windfall tax on oil and gas profits (PA)

The SNP is against the extension of the levy, but the party is in favour of maintaining the tax at 75%.

On social media platform X on Wednesday, Mr Bowie said Mr Hunt understands “the importance of the issue in the north east”.

He added: “The fact is only the Conservatives support our oil and gas sector. That’s why, for example, we are also retaining the capital gains allowances. So now we need (to) get on and deliver.”

Mr Yousaf said Mr Ross had been “utterly humiliated” by the decision to extend the levy after his pleas for the Chancellor to rethink the move fell on deaf ears.

“Whether his position is tenable or not, frankly I hope he stays in position because it’s helpful to the nationalist cause.”

Scottish Conservative shadow net zero, energy and transport secretary and North East MSP Douglas Lumsden said: “While we’ve made it clear we’re deeply disappointed by the Chancellor’s decision, Humza Yousaf’s attempts to masquerade as a friend of the north east are fooling absolutely no-one.

“It is a matter of months since he boasted in New York about Scotland no longer being the oil and gas capital of the world, and he refuses to back plans for any new developments

“That recklessness – coupled by cosying up to the Greens in Government – is what threatens the 100,000 jobs in the sector.

“Perhaps if Humza Yousaf’s own MSPs stood up to his failing leadership over such issues like dualling the A96, then the north east would be in a better position than it is on his party’s watch.”

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