Anas Sarwar reaffirms support for oil tax proposals despite being labeled a ‘traitor’ by Aberdeen executives.

Anas Sarwar reaffirms support for oil tax proposals despite being labeled a ‘traitor’ by Aberdeen executives.

Anas Sarwar has dismissed criticism of Labour’s proposed oil tax, despite being accused of being a “traitor” by business leaders in Aberdeen.

The leader of the Scottish Labour party stated that they will continue to pursue their proposal for a windfall tax on oil profits worth billions, despite objections from over 800 executives in the oil, engineering, and business industries. These executives believe that the tax could result in the loss of 100,000 jobs in the North Sea region.

The Aberdeen-based newspaper, The Press & Journal, caused a stir among Labour officials when it featured photos of Sarwar, Keir Starmer, Rachel Reeves, and Ed Miliband under the headline “the traitors”. The background of the photo included an oil rig, highlighting the city’s status as the UK’s oil capital.

Starmer, Sarwar and Miliband met oil and engineering executives in Aberdeen several weeks ago seeking their support for Labour’s strategy to ramp up investment in low carbon energy and shift away from North Sea oil and gas.

During a lengthy address at the Scottish Labour conference, Sarwar consistently supported the windfall tax suggestion as a crucial step in addressing the current affordability crisis, as energy expenses have risen by 60% in the past two years.

He stated that it was crucial for Labour to focus on investing in the shift towards net zero, improving the UK’s struggling industrial and energy infrastructure, and providing a “British jobs bonus” to generate green employment opportunities.

Attacking the oil industry’s “record” £33bn profits last year, Sarwar told delegates one energy firm, British Gas, reported a tenfold increase in its profits on Thursday. “That’s why Labour will introduce a windfall tax to tackle the cost of living crisis,” he said.

Sarwar announced a significant departure from Labour’s previous approach under Corbyn, stating that the party’s goal is to drive economic progress by simplifying the planning process, revamping Scotland’s investment organizations, and fostering closer relationships with the business community.

He informed the delegates that our party is openly in favor of growth, business, and workers.

On Friday morning, Sarwar held a exclusive business breakfast for approximately 150 corporate leaders who were specially invited to attend his conference presentation.

Sarwar tried to shift focus onto the Scottish National Party by claiming they had abandoned their support for a windfall tax while simultaneously implementing higher taxes for individuals earning over £28,500. He stated, “They can no longer claim to be advocates for the working class in Scotland.”

According to his spokesperson, the party is engaged in strong discussions with the energy sector, but will not alter their plans. He emphasized that Scotland and the UK are facing a critical challenge: they must either strive to be a global pioneer in renewable energy or risk being surpassed by others.

Ignore advertisement for newsletter

The Labour party has started private discussions with officials from the Treasury last week to strategize for the implementation of a windfall tax in the event of winning the upcoming election.

A letter written by business leaders in north-east Scotland, which included the billionaire engineer Ian Wood, compared the potential effects of Labour’s windfall tax proposals to the forced shutdown of coal mines during Margaret Thatcher’s administration in the 1980s.

The Labour party suggests raising the energy profits levy by 3% to a total of 78%. According to a letter, this proposal is based on analysis from investment bank Stifel, which estimates that the increase would result in the loss of £20 billion in jobs for the Treasury.

Some opponents of the shift to net zero have expressed concern that it may have negative effects on communities reliant on oil. They argue that moving forward with these plans could result in up to 100,000 job losses, which would be the largest scale of redundancies since the pit closures in the 1980s, according to a letter.