Scottish Tories warn Hunt against extending EPL

04/03/2024

SCOTTISH Conservative politicians are mounting a campaign to convince the Chancellor to “reduce or get rid” of the windfall tax on oil and gas companies, amid rumours that Jeremy Hunt is set to extend the policy in Wednesday’s budget.

The Chancellor is said to be considering extending the life of the Energy Profits Levy (EPL) – currently due to expire in March 2028 – by another year.

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But both Douglas Ross and Andrew Bowie have positioned themselves firmly against the plans, confirming that further talks on the policy are set to take place today.

Mr Bowie, who publicly opposed the the introduction of the policy prior to becoming an energy minister, said EPL is currently being reviewed with the Chancellor “looking at the level at which we might be able to reduce or get rid”.

He added: “I take the view, the department takes the view, the government takes the view, that the energy profits levy is there but we’re not saying it’s going to be remaining as it is forever.”

The tax was introduced as a temporary measure in 2022 as energy companies in the North Sea made record profits amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

But profits have long-since normalised, though energy companies continue to pay a 75% tax rate.

Mr Ross told journalists at the weekend’s party conference in Aberdeen he wouldn’t support any such move to increase the life of EPL.

“I don’t support that – when it was introduced, it was introduced with the support of some big businesses within that sector.

“Things have moved on a lot since then and what I’ve heard is this is about confidence going forward, and that would be an unacceptable blow to workers here.

“I have and will continue to make that point strenuously to the chancellor of the UK.”

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