PRIME Minister Rishi Sunak will visit Scotland on Monday to announce what the Tories believe will be a “game-changer” for their hopes at the next General Election, according to reports.

While there have been rumours circulating that the Tory leader will be making an appearance north of the Border early this week, details have been thin on the ground.

However, the Sunday Times reported that Sunak’s would be in Aberdeenshire to announce multi-million-pound funding for the Acorn carbon capture project – something the SNP have been calling for for years.

The National: The OGA’s vision is for there to be two CCS sites operational by 2025. Picture: OGA

The Acorn Project, based at the St Fergus gas terminal near Peterhead, is to be used to capture around 200,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year and transport it, using existing pipelines, for storage in one of three depleted North Sea gas fields.

Supporters of the project say it can help the UK meet its net-zero targets and create up to 21,000 jobs.

The UK Government sparked fury in Scotland after it snubbed the project in an initial round of funding in 2021, instead opting to fund two English sites on the Humber and around Liverpool.

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However, there were suggestions from the Conservatives that the Aberdeenshire site may be in for later rounds of funding, and it was made a “reserve” site at the time.

Sunak is now due to visit Scotland to announce that the Acorn project will be given a share of a £20 billion pot which has been made available for carbon capture projects over the next ten years.

The Sunday Times reported that Tory ministers think the funding will be a “game-changer” in Scotland, helping the Conservatives to shore up their vote in the North East and damaging Labour’s chances of making headway.

A source told that paper: “This is a big deal for Scotland and will set out clear dividing lines with the SNP and Labour by showing that we are the party that will create the jobs of tomorrow.”

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The news comes after years of the SNP lobbying the Tories to make funding available for the Acorn project.

Former first minister Nicola Sturgeon said in March, after the UK Government failed to include clarity on the project in its Spring Budget, that Sunak had given assurances this would not be the case.

She said at the time: “Can I say how deeply disappointed this Government was yesterday that we had no further clarity on a timeline for the deployment of the Scottish cluster.

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“We were expecting further clarity, we had been given assurances, I had been given assurances directly by the Prime Minister that further clarity would be forthcoming.

“So it's doubly disappointing that we didn't get that.”

The Acorn project would take carbon emissions from industry in the central belt and north east and pump them into permanent storage 1.5 miles below the North Sea. The “Scottish cluster” refers to the businesses and sites that would use the carbon capture service.

According to its website, Acorn is a joint venture between Storegga, Shell UK, Harbour Energy, and North Sea Midstream Partners.

The funding announcement will form part of theUK Government's "energy week", which will see Sunak and Energy Security Secretary Grant Shapps meet top figures from the oil and gas, renewable and nuclear industries.

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It comes amid concerns over a softening of the Government commitment to key net zero policies and environmental promises, after anger over London’s ultra-low emission zone (Ulez) helped seal victory for the Tories in the Uxbridge by-election.

The Government, despite alarm from climate campaigners, is also committed to new oil and gas licences in the North Sea.

Shapps (above) said: “Since Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine the Government has driven Putin from our energy market, paid around half of a typical family’s energy bill and grown our economy by driving forward major energy projects."

“This week we will go even further. Forging ahead with critical measures to power up Britain from Britain, including supporting our invaluable oil and gas industry, making the most of our home-grown energy sources and backing British innovation in renewables.

“And across Government we will champion Britain’s businesses to deliver on the Prime Minister’s priority of growing the economy – helping them to create new jobs and even whole new industries across the UK.”