THE SNP’s Westminster leader clashed with a BBC Scotland presenter over the SNP’s stance on a windfall tax during an interview on Tuesday morning.

It comes after First Minister Humza Yousaf criticised Labour’s plans to increase the windfall tax on the oil and gas sector.

He described Labour’s plans to raise the tax on oil and gas companies from 75% to 78% as “aggressive,” adding that it was designed to “plug the massive financial hole” required to build new nuclear plants in England.

READ MORE: Explained: Where the SNP stand on an oil and gas windfall tax

During his interview with the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland, Stephen Flynn was asked by host Gary Robertson if the SNP are “firmly on the side of the energy companies”.

“We are on the side of Scottish jobs and unashamedly so,” Flynn replied.

“Right across Scotland right now, the biggest issue facing households is the cost of living crisis whether that’s energy bills, mortgage bills or food bills.

“And what Labour are proposing will make things worse because what they want to do is create a cliff edge in the oil and gas sector that could leave, as you have said, tens of thousands of people without a job, up to 100,000 people without a job.

“It would leave us importing more energy than we currently do, that ultimately stick up bills during the cost of living crisis.

“And of course meantime they [Labour] have rode back on the very green investment that would ultimately bring down bills in the long term.”

He added that Labour’s plans are ultimately part of a wider plan to invest in nuclear energy in England, and told Robertson he would be “questioning me much harder” if he wasn’t standing up for Scottish jobs.

Energy profits

It was then put to Flynn that moving from 75% to 78% was “hardly a big jump,” to which he replied that “it would equalise with Norway”.

“Indeed, and you so often tell us Norway is the model we should follow,” the host then said.

Flynn replied: “Yes of course but operating costs for Norwegian energy projects are about half what they are in the Scottish fields because of the age of Scottish fields Gary.

“When it comes to Labour’s proposals, it’s not simply about a windfall tax alone as I’m sure you know. It’s also about investment allowances which exist.

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“Now put together we are hearing from stakeholders in industry that this will immediately cost some 42 000 jobs, up to 100 000 jobs.

“We need to be very clear about what the consequence of this proposal is.”

Flynn then told Robertson to “hold on a second” as the host interrupted to say energy companies would say this but the SNP Westminster leader replied: “What you are failing to accept here is the fact that the Labour Party are seeking to raise additional revenue not to help people with the cost of living crisis but to invest in nuclear projects in England.

“And the cost of doing that will be jobs in Scotland, up to 100 000 jobs. We can’t simply sit silent and allow that to happen. Nobody with good conscience can sit silent and allow that to happen.”

Labour’s plans

Flynn was then asked if Labour were to spend the money on something else, would the SNP support the 78% levy.

He replied that this was not what Labour are proposing, and stressed that his main objection was the potential loss of jobs.

Flynn (below) was then asked if “tax rises” from the Scottish Government should be considered “aggressive,” but the MP replied that these were being brought in to fund the NHS, free tuition among a number of other public services.


“So ordinary Scots can afford to pay those extra taxes yet BP with its annual profit of £11 billion cannot, British Gas with its tenfold rise in profits cannot,” Robertson said.

Flynn responded: “I’m sorry Gary but there’s no equivalence between the two because by asking someone to pay a little bit more tax to fund the Scottish health service, you are not putting up to 100,000 people out of work which is what Labour’s proposal is doing."

He stressed that it was crucial to “listen to the experts” on these issues and that they were saying Labour’s proposal would cost jobs.

He added that the money would not go into people’s pockets, but rather into nuclear energy as the pair clashed on whether or not this would bring down energy prices.

READ MORE: Oil and gas body holds 'emergency summit' on Labour windfall tax plans

Flynn added that it was “outrageous” that Labour planned on using Scottish resources to fund projects in England.

Robertson then said some people might see the opposition as “opportunistic or hypocritical” to which Flynn said: “My opposition and you’ll forgive me I don’t think I can be any clearer in relation to this this morning Gary, my opposition is predicated on the fact that the windfall tax along with some of the changes the Labour Party are proposing to investment allowances would cost between 42,000 and 100,000 jobs, that is not a good thing.”