North East MSP’s take issue with First Minister’s stance on Oil and Gas


North East MSP, Douglas Lumsden has called out first Minister’ Humza Yousaf for what he believes to be disingenuous comments about the recent budget and its potential impact on the Scottish economy.

Responding to comments made by the First Minister regarding the recent budget, Mr Lumsden said, ” Humza Yousaf’s attempts to masquerade as a friend of the north east are fooling absolutely no-one.”

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Mr Lumsden was responding to the SNP’s positioning on the Chancellor’s extension of a windfall tax. Scottish Conservatives are at odds with the Chancellor who is using the extension to fund tax cuts, an issue welcomed around the UK, but which poses a serious threat to the north east economy.

The First Minister had said, “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.”

Mr Yousaf also said, “We don’t oppose windfall tax. We actually support a windfall tax, one of the first parties to be calling for a windfall tax.” Whilst the SNP supports a windfall tax it is opposed to an extension to bring about tax cuts.

Conservative government minister Andrew Bowie, who it is rumoured was prepared to quit his ministerial role over the Chancellor’s decision added his criticism of the First Minister’s stance. He said “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.”

Mr Bowie’s West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine constituency is strongly connected to the oil and gas industry. 

This is the latest in a series of clashes on the importance of oil and gas to the north east economy. Late last year after an expensive Scottish Government “junket” to the UN Climate Week in New York, Mr Lumsden said that Mr Yousaf “had failed Scottish Industry”.  This comment was made in response to the First Minister’s statement that he no longer wanted Scotland to be Europe’s oil and gas capital. This comment was positioned against an aspiration of Scotland leading the world in Net Zero.

Speaking about the “junket”, Mr Lumsden said, ““It seems no expense was spared sending Humza Yousaf and his entourage to grandstand in New York.  That might have been tolerable had he used his international platform to promote Scotland’s industry. But, instead, he used it to sell out our oil and gas sector and the tens of thousands of skilled jobs it supports. 

The SNP has in recent years abandoned its support for Oil and Gas in favour of policies with align with its political allies in the form of the Greens. This was most apparent late in 2023 when the SNP response to the granting of new licences for oil and gas exploration was extremely negative. First Minister, Humza Yousaf; attacked the decision saying: “This is the wrong decision. I have expressed concerns about this going ahead forsome time. We don’t think the taps should be turned off tomorrow, but neither can the north-east have unlimited oil and gas extraction.”

At the same time Scottish Government Energy minister Gillian Martin, MSP for Aberdeenshire East, refused to welcome the announcement of the Rosebank licence award despite its economic significance for her own constituency.

Given that the Scottish Government has pursued a green agenda at the expense of support for the oil and gas industry, Mr Lumsden’s reaction is understandable. There will be many who favour a greener path. But polls across Scotland in late 2023 indicated significant support for the continued investment in oil and gas. 

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