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Michael Gove: Aberdeen residents ‘don’t back oil and gas windfall tax’

Michael Gove.
Michael Gove.

Aberdonians want oil and gas to continue without a tax on excess profits while work continues on the shift to greener energy, according to senior Tory Michael Gove.

The UK Government insisted major multinational firms should be allowed to reap record profits since imposing a levy on them could “deter investment”.

Labour want Chancellor Rishi Sunak to take a slice of massive profits from major oil and gas companies to help struggling families pay their bills.

The SNP called for measures against companies who continued to thrive during Covid lockdowns.

The SNP’s Westminster chief, Ian Blackford, said: “What we’ve argued for is a windfall tax on all those who have made excess profits during the pandemic.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Despite previously opposing it, Mr Sunak recently suggested he could potentially reverse his position on the tax.

However, on Wednesday morning Mr Gove said on Sky News: “If you have the wrong sort of tax applied at the wrong time in the wrong way you can actually lead to companies not investing for the long-term.

“I was in Aberdeen recently, and one of the things people said to me there is, if we’re going to have a transition towards net zero, oil and gas has to be part of that. We need that investment.

“We won’t get that investment if we have the wrong sort of tax right now.”

He added: “Ultimately the answer to economic pressures now and in the future is a growing economy.”

Greg Hands.

He was backed by Conservative business minister Greg Hands, who appeared at a Holyrood committee this morning.

The Tory MP defended measures outlined by Mr Sunak in February to help the country through the cost of living emergency.

He claimed that the north-east can be a “world leader” in offshore wind going forward, but warned “extinction is not a good policy” for oil and gas.

However, Labour MSP Monica Lennon said help packages so far had been “underwhelming” and said it appeared to be “business as usual” at Westminster.

No emergency budget

Michael Gove also confirmed earlier that Rishi Sunak will not hold an emergency cost of living budget following the Queen’s Speech yesterday.

He said the prime minister was correct that the government would be “doing more”, but that his words had been “over-interpeted”.

Mr Gove said any further measures aimed at easing cost of living pressures would be introduced by individual Westminster departments.

He told Sky News: “Last night the prime minister convened a group of ministers – we have all done work on some of the things we could do to help.”

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