NICOLA Sturgeon has challenged Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar to write a joint letter to Boris Johnson calling for more tax powers to be devolved.

The First Minister was responding to accusations from Sarwar that SNP MPs had refused to confirm if they support a windfall tax on oil and gas companies during an opposition day debate the party led in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

The SNP are calling for an extended windfall tax which would cover other firms such as Amazon who made significant profits during the pandemic, as well as energy producers. Meanwhile, Labour’s policy calls for a windfall tax on oil and gas firms only.

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Sarwar asked the FM if she supported Labour’s plan to ask Chancellor Rishi Sunak to cut VAT, scrap the National Insurance rise and Universal Credit cut, and support a windfall tax on oil and gas companies.

The FM said that she hoped Sunak would announce “substantial and significant interventions” to help Scottish families tackle the cost of living crisis.

Sarwar then claimed that SNP MPs “didn’t get the memo” as they were asked to confirm whether or not they supported the windfall tax during the opposition day debate.

He said: “They didn't back a costed plan for a windfall tax on multinational oil and gas companies, but they did present one paragraph that would have taxed Irn Bru and Pets at Home.

“I have no idea why the SNP back attacks on ginger but not on gas.

“I think frankly Scotland deserves better.”

The First Minister stated that the SNP motion in the House of Commons called for a windfall tax on any companies who had made substantial profits during the pandemic, including oil and gas firms, and asked why Labour would want to exclude billion-pound firm Amazon from the plan.

She added: “Wouldn't it be so much better if Anas Sarwar, instead of week after week asking for my views on things I have no control to do ... wouldn’t it be better to argue for those powers to be in the hands of this government?”

The Scottish Labour leader fired back and said that there was “no independence or constitutional answer” to the cost of living crisis, adding: “People's bills are going up whether they voted Yes or No.”

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Sarwar added: “This crisis is only getting worse, warm words won’t keep the bills down.

“This Government must step up to the challenge that Scots face right now, stop tinkering around the edges and provide the support the people of Scotland need.”

As the policy area is reserved to Westminster, the First Minister was scathing in her reply.

She responded: “The power, we’re using the power, doubling the Scottish Child payment. The game-changer policy, according to child poverty campaigners.

“When we have the power, we use that power.

The National: First Minister Nicola Sturgeon updates MSPs on any changes to the Covid restrictions at the Scottish Parliament Holyrood Edinburgh. Picture date: Tuesday March 15, 2022. PA Photo. Scotland is making "steady progress back to normal life", Nicola

“Anas Sarwar says the argument about powers doesn’t matter, he has chosen to come here today and major on the issue of a windfall tax.

“This Government doesn’t have the power to impose a windfall tax, and let me be very clear, the motion tabled by SNP MPs in the House of Commons yesterday would include oil and gas companies.

“Any reading of that would lead anyone to that conclusion.

“But here this is a really serious issue for families across the country, so in the interests of trying to build consensus I will prepare and sign this afternoon a joint letter with Anas Sarwar to the Prime Minister and the Chancellor asking them to do a windfall tax, but asking them because I suspect their answer will be no, to give the power to this parliament to do so at our own hand.

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“And then we can join forces and ensure that is actually done with oil and gas companies, and with Amazon, and with other companies that have increased.

“So rather than just indulge in the rhetoric will Anas Sarwar actually argue for the means for this Parliament to do it?”

Sarwar could be seen shaking his head as the First Minister sat back down in the chamber.