Time to end climate wrecking loophole in UK windfall tax

It is time for the UK government to end the incentives for new drilling that have been built-in to its so-called windfall tax, according to the Scottish Greens. This follows the COP 27 summit's failure to agree to "phase out" or "phase down" fossil fuels.

At present the tax gives energy giants a 91% relief from the windfall tax for every pound they spend on investing in new oil and gas extraction.

The Scottish Greens climate spokesperson, Mark Ruskell MSP, said:

"The failure of COP 27 to take action on oil and gas underlines the need for all governments to go further and faster in securing a future beyond fossil fuels.

"In the UK it must mean halting all new oil and gas exploration licences and ensuring a just transition to the renewable industries of the future. This can be funded, in part, by a proper and meaningful windfall tax.

"But that can't happen as long as the so-called windfall tax includes a climate wrecking incentive for oil and gas giants to do even more drilling. It’s climate vandalism disguised as a levy.

“This isn't just about closing a loophole, it was designed that way on purpose and is fundamental to the tax. If the UK government is to have any kind of climate credibility then it must end the hypocrisy and take the action that is so badly needed. 

“The 100 plus new oil and gas exploration licences that Downing Street has committed to won’t do anything to lower household bills. But they will help to fuel the crisis that we are living through.

"In Scotland we must build on the important steps we are already taking. With Scottish Greens in government we have ensured record funding for wildlife, nature recycling and infrastructure for walking, wheeling and cycling. 

"We have also delivered free bus travel for everyone under 22 and have plans to double onshore wind capacity while investing £5 billion in rail decarbonisation. 

“There is a lot more to do, and we will redouble our efforts to ensure Scotland is leading on climate action in Europe and beyond.”