Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Windfall tax on energy giants would kill off investment, says UK minister

Greg Hands said the UK Government believes a windfall tax on energy companies would kill off investment and cost jobs (Jane Barlow/PA)
Greg Hands said the UK Government believes a windfall tax on energy companies would kill off investment and cost jobs (Jane Barlow/PA)

The UK Government believes a windfall tax on energy companies would kill off investment and cost jobs, energy minister Greg Hands has said.

He also said the Scottish Government’s opposition to new nuclear power stations is preventing it from being part of a “renaissance” of the sector.

Addressing Holyrood’s Net Zero Committee on Wednesday, one MSP responded to his comments on a windfall tax by saying the cost-of-living crisis is “killing off people”.

Conservative minister Mr Hands said world events had driven up energy prices and the UK Government is not able to completely insulate consumers from this.

He said UK ministers are spending £22 billion this year to help households with the cost of living.

Greg Hands
Greg Hands spoke to MSPs on Wednesday (Michal Wachucik/PA)

Some of this help – such as the Energy Bills Support Scheme, which will provide a £200 reduction in electricity costs – will not be felt until October, he said.

Mr Hands said: “It’s very much the belief of the Chancellor – matters of taxation are matters for the Chancellor – that a windfall tax would kill off investment.

“For example in the North Sea and particularly from companies that are also using those proceeds to invest increasingly in renewables.

“Oil and gas companies already pay corporation tax at twice the rate of other companies, they’ve paid around £375 billion in taxation to the Exchequer since North Sea oil and gas came on stream.

“So we take the view that the windfall tax would be likely to kill off investment and cost jobs, particularly in Scotland.”

Scottish Labour MSP Monica Lennon responded to him, saying: “Instead of killing off investment, just to quote your words back. What we’re hearing from charities, trade unions in Scotland, local volunteers and food banks is that the cost-of-living crisis is killing off people.”

She asked about the proposed Jackdaw oil field in the North Sea, to which the minister said an independent environmental assessment is being carried out.

Increased investment in gas will help with the UK’s security of supply, he said.

Scottish Conservative MSP Liam Kerr asked if there is a case for wholesale restructuring of the energy market.

Mr Hands said the UK Government is looking to change the UK’s energy mix, increasing the move to renewables and nuclear power.

He said: “It would be really helpful if the Scottish Government were to drop its ideological opposition to nuclear. Because nuclear has got a fantastic track record in Scotland.

“It’s a pity to see Scotland not participating – thanks to the Scottish Government’s approach to nuclear – in our nuclear renaissance.”

SNP MSP Jackie Dunbar later commented on Mr Hands’s evidence to the committee.

She said: “The minister’s appearance at committee was pathetic. It provided no reassurance to families across Scotland who are terrified to open their bills right now and having to make the unthinkable decision between heating and eating.

“This is a cost-of-living crisis created by the Tory Government and due to their continued inaction, families in Scotland are slipping further and further into poverty.

“Their failure to invest in Scotland’s renewable sector and their obsession with nuclear power compounds that.

“It also illustrates the shambolic response from the UK Tory Government as Boris Johnson tells MPs support is on the way, but that is then denied by the Treasury and Greg Hands at Holyrood.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]

More from the Press and Journal Politics team

More from the Press and Journal