THE Scottish Tories are reportedly attempting to convince Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to not extend the windfall tax on oil and gas giants.

It is understood Douglas Ross has spoken with the UK Conservative leader, as well as Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho, with further talks confirmed on Monday before the Spring Budget on Wednesday.

The Moray MP has been joined by West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Andrew Bowie in heaping on the pressure in Westminster.

A windfall tax is used to target firms that benefit from something for which they were not responsible - and one was introduced in 2022 after global energy prices shot up in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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

Initially, the Energy Profits Levy was introduced under Sunak, when he was chancellor in 2022, at 25%, which Hunt increased to 35% in 2023. 

However, firms can reduce the amount of tax they pay through various means, with Shell and BP paying little to no tax to the UK Government in recent years. 

Ahead of the budget, Sunak has refused to comment on any Government plans to raise or extend the tax.

Ross told journalists in Aberdeen: “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 from Offshore Energy UK, indeed even just last night at their reception here at a conference, it’s about confidence and confidence going forward.

“And that would be an unacceptable blow to the confidence and the confidence of the jobs and the workers here [in the North East], and I have and will continue to make that most strenuously to the chancellor in the UK Government.”

READ MORE: SNP depute leader: ‘Let’s consider withdrawing MPs from Westminster’

Bowie (below) told the Press and Journal: “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 nuclear minister also said nuclear investment is being blocked for “ideological reasons” in Scotland and said it was “barmy” that the Scottish Government does not support it.

The Scottish Government said it does not support building new nuclear power stations under current technologies because of expense, time, and environmental concerns.

The National: Andrew Bowie

It added: “Through our draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan we have set out a clear pathway to deliver on global commitments and capitalise on the enormous opportunities offered by becoming a net zero economy.

“Significant growth in renewables, hydrogen and carbon capture storage provide the best pathway to net zero by 2045 and will deliver a climate-friendly energy system that delivers affordable, resilient and clean energy supplies for Scotland.”

Bowie also told an event at Holyrood that the block on nuclear developments is “an act of economic vandalism” and “bordering on criminally negligent”.