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Labour and SNP clash over oil and gas jobs ahead of manifesto launch



The energy sector has become one of the key battlegrounds in the July 4 vote. More details of Labour’s plans for the future of industry are expected on Thursday when the party publishes its manifesto.

The Unite union has already refused to endorse the prospectus, partly because of the party’s position on the transition away from oil and gas.

READ MORE: SNP under fire for ‘exaggerated’ oil jobs claims

Labour has vowed to create GB Energy.

The details on exactly what it will do are scant, but it will be funded with £8.3billion from investment raised from what the party has described as a “proper” windfall tax on energy firms.

This would see the government’s existing windfall tax hiked from 75 to 78% and the scrapping of the current investment allowance which allows producers get 91p in tax relief for every £1 they invest.

Speaking to the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, Mr Flynn said Labour’s plans would not reduce energy bills but fund “nuclear power projects in England”.

He said the SNP believed i a “just and sustainable transition that protects the future employment of the tens of thousands of people” who live in the north east and work in the industry.

“Now, the reality is that this election there was three options on the table, that just and sustainable transition that protects workers and creates new net zero jobs of tomorrow.

“Thre’s the Labour Party position which of course would scrap 100,000 jobs and wouldn’t invest in that net zero future because they’ve rolled back on their £28 billion net zero commitment.

“And then, of course, there’s the Conservative Party position, which is to act like oil and gas will last forever when it won’t. They’re almost becoming climate deniers like Nigel Farage.”

Responding to the interview, Labour’s Ian Murray said: “The SNP has zero credibility on the economy and are all over the place when it comes to energy jobs and security.

“Stephen Flynn thinks a nurse on £29,000 a year should pay more tax but the oil and gas giants taking in billions of pounds in profits shouldn’t. That’s nonsense from a party that can’t give a straight answer on oil and gas.

“Labour will establish GB energy in Scotland to create the jobs for the future while cutting energy bills and transforming Scotland into a clean energy superpower.”

Labour’s manifesto was finalised behind closed doors at a secretive meeting on Friday. 

Unite has not spoken publicly about the decision not to endorse the manifesto. 

Sources told the media that there were concerns over worker rights, as well as oil and gas jobs. 

The union, which donated £3 million to Labour’s campaign in 2019, warned last year that there were “no blank cheques” for the party as it urged the leadership to offer “bolder” policies.

READ MORE: Swinney: SNP will work with Labour government


Speaking to Sky News, Labour shadow justice secretary Shabana Mahmood said: “Unite have some areas of policy where they would probably want us to go further but they did not push any of those issues to a vote.”

She added: “(Unite) recognise that actually change is coming, the issue is speed and transition on which we were able to provide assurances on plans that have been backed by independent experts.

“We will create over 100,000 jobs as part of our plans. These are good quality jobs in the same sector.”

Asked if the Unite leadership had confidence in those assurances, Ms Mahmood said: “That’s a matter for Unite and their own internal management of their union.”

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