The ex-Labour leader of Aberdeen City Council claims his former party is “trying to destroy” the oil and gas industry over its plans to increase the windfall tax.
Barney Crockett hit out at Sir Keir Starmer after he confirmed controversial plans to increase the tax from 75% to 78%, if elected to form the next government.
The former Labour councillor, who quit the party last year in anger at its energy strategy, said raising the levy would spell “economic gloom” for the north-east.
He also hit out at his ex-party for “abandoning the north-east entirely” after last week ditching a £28 billion green spending pledge.
The oil and gas sector supports around 93,600 jobs across Scotland with the vast majority of these – more than 83,000 – in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
Industry leaders warn that thousands of jobs and billions of pounds of investment would be “wiped out” under Labour’s tax plans.
It comes as the party comes under fire for confirming it will cut its £28bn energy transition plans by half, following months of speculation.
Sir Keir defended the U-turn by claiming it was no longer affordable because the Tories had crashed the economy.
But the move has sparked concerns for investment in north-east jobs with Labour also wanting to ban future oil and gas licences in the North Sea.
Labour spending plans: ‘Unrealistic’
On the cut to the green spending plan, Mr Crockett told the P&J: “Labour has tortured itself over this for a long period because it was always unrealistic.
“They were attempting to have something to say to the unions about the impact on jobs.
“They were promising that if you lose jobs offshore and in the north-east, you’ll gain jobs in other places and that’s why they came up with this totally unrealistic figure.
“It does now beg questions. They’ve abandoned the north-east totally.”
The former Labour councillor described plans to raise the windfall tax as “draconian and counter-productive”.
“That spells absolute gloom for this area and Labour have no real alternative story to tell “, he said.
“It’s dramatically terrible for this area but it’s also dramatically destructive of any plan for a low carbon future.
“If you’re going to have the investment that’s required then you’re going to have to work with these companies and not work to destroy them which is basically Labour’s perspective at the moment.
“They’re trying to destroy the oil and gas industry at a time when they need it to be a partner in energy transformation. That will be catastrophic for this area.”
Windfall tax proposals
The party said the move to increase the windfall tax – in line with that of Norway – would “end the loopholes in the levy that funnel billions back to the oil and gas giants”.
Last week, BP reported its highest annual profit in a decade, despite it being half the level it announced in the previous year.
They also want to extend the levy by an extra year to 2029 and cut investment allowances which allow firms to claim back tax relief on investment expenditure in the North Sea.
In a scathing attack on Labour’s proposals, David Whitehouse, chief executive of Offshore Energies UK, said the party “either can’t do the maths or haven’t considered the alarming jobs impact”.
But Scottish Labour net zero spokeswoman, Sarah Boyack, said the party’s green prosperity plan will “create jobs, drive down bills and deliver energy security”.
She added: said: “Oil and gas will have a key role to play in our energy system for decades to come and Labour will work with the industry to not only protect jobs but create new ones.”