Scottish Secretary denies windfall tax will cost ‘a single job’

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack

SCOTTISH Secretary Alister Jack has claimed the extended windfall tax on oil and gas profits “won’t cost a single job”.

Since the introduction of the Energy Profits Levy (EPL) in May 2022, more than a thousand jobs have been lost as a direct result.

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Jeremy Hunt’s decision to extend the policy by a further year split the party with Andrew Bowie branding the move “disappointing”, while Douglas Ross and David Duguid have both condemned it.

But during Mr Jack’s first visit to the region since the Spring Budget, he said: “These companies have been making huge excess profits due to Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine, spiking energy costs.

“And we think it’s right to take some of that money back and recycle it to help households with their energy bills.”

Ryan Crighton, policy director at Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, said: “There is a level of delusion in these remarks, because Alistair Jack seems to have forgotten that the windfall tax has already cost at least 1,000 jobs in Scotland.

“His own North-east Conservative colleagues recognise the corrosive impact it is having on investment and confidence in the North Sea, to the point where we know jobs and discretionary capital are moving overseas.”

Harbour Energy, the North Sea’s biggest producer, saw profits fall to $32bn (£25.34m) last year, while they cut 350 jobs as a result of the EPL.

Crighton adds: “The changes in the budget were the fourth time energy taxes have been tinkered with in 18-months – and for a sector which relies on stability to make long-term investments, that is unacceptable.

“Alistair Jack and his colleagues need to wake-up to the fact that the Energy Profits Levy is bad for jobs, bad for investment, bad for energy security and bad for the energy transition. It must go.”

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