In her UK manifesto, party leader and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that ‘successive Westminster governments have cost consumers billions of pounds by failing to make the energy market work for families’.
She added: “The time for change is long overdue. We want bills reduced and fairness and transparency in the system.”
Consequently, SNP MPs in the next Westminster parliament press the UK government to:
- Put in place an energy price cap on standard variable tariffs, ensuring a fair deal for customers and energy suppliers;
- Introduce a new duty to be placed on energy companies to set out a clear timetable to reduce the number of people on prepayment meters;
- Immediately implement the Competition and Markets Authority’s recommendations on metering to reduce costs for households;
- Put in place a requirement for energy companies to prioritise the roll-out of smart meters to those households at risk of fuel poverty
- Introduce financial health checks to help people switch to the lowest tariffs and provide advice on reducing energy use; and
- Take new action, alongside OFGEM to identify those at risk from fuel poverty, with new legislation to ensure these groups are on the lowest energy tariff possible starting with those eligible for the Cold Weather Payment.
Oil and Gas
Sturgeon said there has been a lack of action from the Tory government at Westminster since the downturn in the sector
Only after pressure from SNP MPs at Westminster did the Tory Chancellor abolish the petroleum revenue tax and halve the supplementary charge to 10 per cent.
Further measures to support the industry are urgent and cannot continue to be ignored, said the manifesto, which added:
“Despite raising £330 billion in tax revenues for the UK Treasury, Westminster has repeatedly failed to provide adequate support for the industry and the families which depend upon it. SNP MPs will press the UK government to deliver a strong deal for the oil and gas sector.
“This must include targeted incentives to develop small pool discoveries, as well as further support to stimulate exploration activity and loan guarantees for critical infrastructure – measures which were promised in the UK Government’s 2016 Budget , but have not been delivered.
“SNP MPs will work to ensure the UK government takes appropriate action on the taxation of late life oil and gas assets. They will also urge the UK government to provide incentives for oil and gas companies diversifying into renewables.”
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Sturgeon warned: “Yet a leaked UK government document states that oil and gas will be a low priority in Brexit negotiations. The SNP will press the UK government for assurances that the oil and gas industry is always treated as a high priority.”
The manifesto said the SNP will champion the interests of island and mainland communities to ensure they benefit financially from renewable energy projects and Scotland’s outstanding natural resources.
SNP MPs will work to protect Scotland’s place in Europe’s energy markets and funding programmes – ensuring continued funding and cooperation with the EU for Scotland’s renewable energy sector.
The European Union is set to establish a €320 million investment fund to support wave and tidal power, in which Scotland is a world leader, the manifesto said.
We will also seek to build a regulatory environment which supports investment in new energy storage schemes, including pumped hydro and batteries, allowing Scotland to maximise the benefits of our outstanding resources and build an energy system for the 21st century
Carbon Capture and Storage
We want Scotland to be a leader in the development of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology, which has the potential to create thousands of jobs in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and beyond, while fighting climate change.
Scotland’s oil and gas sector remains uniquely well placed to develop CCS on an industrial scale – despite the UK government reneging on its commitment to a £1 billion project set to benefit Peterhead Power Station.
We will work to ensure Scotland is not denied this opportunity by working to secure the funding needed to develop this vital technology here in Scotland.
The UK’s punitive transmission charging regime forces renewable and conventional energy generators in Scotland to pay huge fees to connect to the electricity grid, while power stations in the south of England receive subsidies.
This unfair system contributed to the early closure of the power stations at Longannet in Fife and Cockenzie in East Lothian, with the loss of hundreds of local jobs, and must be overhauled.