Election 2019

Election 2019: Labour candidate 'not supporting' oil tax manifesto pledge

Aberdeen harbour Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Aberdeen is a major centre for the oil and gas industry

The Labour candidate for Aberdeen South has said she does not support the party's manifesto pledge for a windfall tax on the oil and gas industry.

Shona Simpson joined her political opponents in Aberdeen to criticise the policy during a BBC Radio Scotland hustings in Aberdeen.

It comes after Labour included plans for an oil windfall tax as part of their manifesto last month.

Voters are due to go to the polls on 12 December.

All four Aberdeen South candidates took part in the hustings event with each saying they opposed a windfall tax.

The Labour manifesto stated the purpose of the tax was to force "the companies that knowingly damaged our climate" to "help cover the costs".

There has been internal controversy over the idea of a one-off oil industry tax, with some trade union officials fearing it would hit the North Sea oil industry.

However, Labour said there would be a strategy to "safeguard" the "people, jobs and skills that depend on the offshore oil and gas industry".

Ms Simpson told the audience: "My priority is Aberdeen South. I would be arguing the case that there shouldn't be a windfall tax. I am being honest. It's important we support the oil and gas industry. I would be an advocate for the oil and gas industry."

'Hit our economy'

The SNP's Stephen Flynn said the sector needed "stability" and it needed "to know where it's going to be in the coming years".

Image copyright PA

He added: "I do find it interesting that we have a Labour candidate who doesn't agree with the Labour manifesto, and in real terms it's for good reasons actually.

"A windfall tax on the oil and gas industry would not be a good thing for the sector."

Ian Yuill of the Liberal Democrats also said stability was required for the industry.

Listen to the election hustings in full

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Media captionThe four candidates competing to be the next Aberdeen South MP face questions in a BBC Radio Scotland election hustings

He said: "It's a bad idea, I think windfall taxes themselves are a bad idea.

"A windfall tax on the oil and gas industry will hit our economy and damage Aberdeen South. Times are changing."

Conservative candidate Douglas Lumsden told the hustings of a windfall tax: "I feel it would be a complete disaster for the north east."

However he added: "It's good to see we actually all agree on that."

Conservative MP Ross Thomson announced last month he was standing down in Aberdeen South.

It followed accusations of sexually assaulting a Labour MP in a Commons bar.

Mr Thomson - who denies any wrongdoing - said he had made the "hardest decision" of his life not to contest the seat at the general election.

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