THE two Borders MPs “should be ashamed” after they voted against imposing a windfall tax on energy firms’ profits, says a south of Scotland representative.
But Conservatives John Lamont and David Mundell have defended their decision.
The one-off measure had been proposed in a bid to help tackle the cost-of-living crisis.
But Labour’s motion calling for the tax was defeated by 297 votes to 241 in the House of Commons.
And South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth blasted Mr Lamont and Mr Mundell after they voted against the measure.
“At the local elections, the voice of the people in the south of Scotland was clear – action is needed now on the cost-of-living crisis,” said Mr Smyth, a Labour representative. “South Scotland’s Tory MPs should be ashamed that they didn’t vote for Labour’s amendment.
“Thousands of Scots are being forced to choose between eating and heating – with parents tragically skipping meals to make sure their kids are fed.
“This is completely unacceptable – but the Tories are refusing to take the action needed to tackle this crisis.”
A windfall tax is a levy on firms experiencing unforeseen large profits.
Opposition parties said that the money raised could be used to help struggling families during the cost-of-living crisis.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak have refused to rule out introducing a windfall tax on gas and oil companies after Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called a U-turn “inevitable”.
Mr Smyth – Labour’s shadow cabinet secretary for net zero, energy & transport & rural affairs – called on the Tory MPs in the Borders to “pick a side” between oil giants and the people of Scotland.
“While thousands of Scots are bearing the brunt of soaring energy bills, oil and gas giants are posting record profits and raking in tens of thousands of pounds in profit a minute,” he said.
“The Scottish Tories should have backed plans for a one-off windfall tax on the oil and gas giants to help struggling families.”
In response to Mr Smyth’s comments, Mr Lamont – MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk – said: “As the chancellor has said, no option is off the table. Energy companies have made huge profits recently and if they don’t properly invest this back into the UK then the chancellor will take action.
“It is a shame that Mr Smyth resorts to politicking on such a serious issue.”
Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale MP Mr Mundell said: “I am not opposed in principle to a windfall tax on oil and gas companies, but I do believe there are other means by which the substantial support it is clear households will need over the months to come could be delivered and that these should be considered also before a final decision is reached.
“I am personally more attracted to the simplicity of a direct payment being made by government to individual households to assist with the cost of heating their homes, but am open to any and all means by which that support can most effectively be delivered.”