Yousaf 'siding with energy giants making billions' over windfall tax

The Scottish Labour leader made the comments amid a fiery exchange during FMQs at Holyrood.

Anas Sarwar has accused Humza Yousaf of “siding with energy giants making billions” as the pair shared an angry exchange at FMQs.

MSPs erupted with shouts in the Holyrood chamber as the party leaders clashed on Labour’s plans to impose a windfall tax on oil and gas firms if it wins the next UK general election.

Labour’s plans to tax North Sea firms on profits stemming from a boom in oil and gas prices has been criticised by the SNP and the Tories.

The industry held an emergency summit this week over the party’s plans, which it claimed could cost tens of thousands of jobs.

During First Minister Questions, Sarwar downplayed the concern, saying similar worries during Tony Blair’s administration that if he introduced a windfall tax – and the minimum wage – jobs would be lost proved to be false.

The First Minister said Sarwar was accusing the oil and gas industry of lying.

Labour has proposed a windfall tax on energy giants.Christopher Furlong via Getty Images

The SNP leader quoted oil leaders who described Sarwar as being a “traitor” to the north east of Scotland.

Speaking to journalists at the Scottish Labour conference in Glasgow at the weekend, Sarwar expressed concern about the use of such language amid increasing concern for the safety of politicians in Scotland and across the UK.

In the chamber, Sarwar was seen to be visibly angry at Yousaf quoting those industry leaders.

Following FMQs, Yousaf’s official spokesperson confirmed the First Minister does not consider the Scottish Labour leader a “traitor”.

On the issue of a windfall tax, Sarwar said: “We are in the middle of a cost of living crisis where too many people are struggling to make ends meet and at the same time oil and gas giants are making record profits.

“Humza Yousaf used to say he supported Labour’s windfall tax.

“Now, he’s siding with the energy giants making record profits while he is putting up tax for working people across this country who are struggling.

“While Shell have brought in £22bn in profit, energy bills have increased by 60% and people are struggling to heat their homes.

“While BP makes £11bn in profit, food prices are up 25%, and people are struggling to put food on the table.

“While British Gas sees a ten-fold increase in profits, mortgages have increased by £2,000 a year and families risk losing their home.”

Yousaf said he wasn’t against the idea of a windfall tax but said Labour’s plans could cost jobs in Scotland.

Yousaf told MSPs: “How does Anas Sarwar think that in the midst of a cost of living crisis, throwing 100,000 workers on the scrap heap is going to help households up and down this country?

“We absolutely believe in a windfall tax on energy companies. We don’t believe in Labour’s aggressive plans to raid the north east, so they can build nuclear power plants in England.

“We’ll stand up for the north east. Anas Sarwar can’t even stand up to Keir Starmer.”

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