THE First Minister has branded Labour a “wolf” in a red rosette as he rejected the party’s plans to increase the windfall tax.

Humza Yousaf delivered a speech at the HM Theatre in Aberdeen on Monday where he said there was “extreme anger” from locals in the north-east of Scotland at opposition party plans for the oil and gas sector.

The SNP leader also promised that his party “will not let” Scotland’s North East go the way coal and mining towns went under Margaret Thatcher, which he said Keir Starmer is "threatening to do".

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf: Keir Starmer does not need Scotland to win election

Humza Yousaf's speech in full

Good morning and thank you all very much for coming today.

And thank you to Stephen for the introduction.

Stephen is a tremendous voice for Scotland at Westminster – speaking truth to power, and giving a voice to those all too often ignored by the Westminster system.

An example of the benefits to Scotland of a strong team of SNP MPs.

It is a pleasure to be here in the energy capital of Europe The city which has bankrolled successive Westminster governments – Labour and Tory - with its abundant natural resources, and world class skills, yet has received little in return.

I know for many here in the North East and across Scotland, that is rightly a source of real anger.

That anger reached new levels last week when Labour announced their plans to raid the North East energy industry – risking 100,000 jobs in the sector – all the while dumping their plans to help fund a just transition.

Let us be clear here today, there is no justice in a transition that throws workers of the North East on the scrapheap. The SNP will not let the North East go the way our coal and mining towns went under Thatcher, and that is what Labour is threatening to do.

You cannot deliver a just transition from oil and gas – for the people and businesses that rely on it – if you squeeze the life out of the sector overnight.

That is why the SNP will oppose Labour’s aggressive tax plans for the sector. A policy designed solely to plug the massive financial hole in plans to build new nuclear power plants in England.

Don’t get me wrong, we support a windfall tax but Labour’s plans to increase this to pay for nuclear energy power plants in England, is plain wrong and will cost tens of thousands of jobs.

Once again the workers of the North East are being asked to pay the price because of Westminster’s economic and energy mismanagement.

As ever, when Westminster parties needs to find cash – they look to Scotland.

The Tories are no better – they want to bury their heads in the sand.

Having told Scotland for 50 years that oil is about to run out, they now want pretend that it can last forever.

That we don’t need change. That we can avoid making the investment needed in the new energy economy, because the old one will always be there.

Neither position is credible.

Since the 1970s more than £300 billion has flowed to the Treasury in oil and gas taxation.

Instead of using that revenue to build up infrastructure here in Aberdeen, to grow the economy, to tackle poverty or invest in public services, that money was squandered by successive Westminster Governments to prop up a failing economic system.

Some would argue that this is a historic issue. A mistake of the past.

But it has relevance today, because we are on the verge of a similar opportunity.

Scotland can be at the forefront of the green energy revolution .

Using the skills and expertise developed in the North Sea in the 20th Century, to power the sustainable energy future of the 21st Century.

Making a major contribution to the international fight against climate change – and creating huge economic opportunity here at home.

Again, we find ourselves with natural resources other countries can only dream of.

Whether it’s onshore and offshore wind, wave and tidal power or hydro power, Scotland has huge green potential.

And again, Aberdeen and the North East are central to that potential.

Very few countries – and even fewer cities – get not one but two golden opportunities like this within the space of a few generations.

Renewables already account for the equivalent of 113% of Scotland’s gross electricity consumption.

The development of a green hydrogen sector in Scotland could support up to 300,000 jobs and add up to £25bn to Scotland’s GVA by 2045.

The expansion of our renewable energy sector is surely one of the greatest export opportunities Scotland will ever have.

We must grasp this opportunity with both hands.

We simply can’t afford to see another generation of opportunity squandered by Westminster.

In recent weeks, the conversation around green energy has centred on Labour’s prevarication and then capitulation on their £28 billion a year green investment pledge.

We’re used to Westminster politics reducing the biggest issues of the day to political game-playing between the Tories and Labour.

The difference this time – it was a political game between Labour and Labour.

For weeks, we were subjected to an internal Punch and Judy show in the Labour party – and again, the most regressive faction won the day.

The weak and indecisive Keir Starmer finally pressured into ditching his pledge.

While they were still supporting the policy – Labour claimed it would create 50,000 jobs in Scotland alone.

Something they were willing to throw away without a second thought to damaging impact this further U-turn would have.

The usual Westminster political game playing is fatally undermining Scotland’s ambitions in what will be the defining economic opportunity of our time.

Neither Labour or the Tories has the backbone – the political will, or the political mettle to back Scotland’s green future.

The SNP does.

In Scotland we have the will. We have the energy. All we lack is the power.

Remote control of Scottish energy from Westminster has been a complete failure, in every sense of the word.

A vote for the SNP, is a vote to control our energy future.

For powers over energy to be in Scotland’s hands, not Westminster’s.

With that power, we will do what Labour and the Tories have failed to do.

Make Scotland’s energy work for Scotland, not for Westminster.

This saga gets to the heart of why Westminster isn’t working for Scotland and why Brexit Britain is completely broken.

Both the Westminster parties are in thrall to the same fatally flawed economic orthodoxy.

There is now no argument that the UK is a failing economy. It was in decline pre-Brexit, but leaving the EU has undoubtedly accelerated that decline with a recent study showing that the UK economy is 5% worse off in relation to comparator countries, since Brexit.

The Financial Times has branded the UK a ‘poor country with pockets of rich people.’ That is because of chronic underinvestment and crippling austerity.

In any properly functioning political system, an Opposition party would look at this grim reality and take every opportunity they could to do things differently.

But Westminster is not a functioning political system.

Standing in the ruins of the UK economy, with people getting poorer, growth getting weaker and investment getting scarcer, the Labour party looks around and says – more of the same please.

Despite claiming that growth is a priority, Labour has just ditched its one policy that could help deliver it.

When people are crying out for something different, something radical and bold – when competitors across the globe are increasing investment, Keir Starmer has chosen to double down on austerity.

Labour’s fiscal rules are nothing more than a defence against Tory attacks.

But in effect, they bind Labour to Tory spending plans. 

Austerity whatever party is in number 10.

Westminster is so broken, so skewed to the right, that even Labour themselves know that they can’t win unless they promise to be just as right wing as the Tories.

The wolf hasn’t even bothered to put on sheep’s clothing – it has just put on a red rosette.

Now, consensus is usually considered a good thing in politics – it’s the approach I try to take in government whenever I can.

But consensus around a political and economic system that is so demonstrably broken is evidence of a deeper malaise at the heart of Westminster politics.

We see it everywhere we look at Westminster.

Two parties committed to austerity, to Brexit, to brutal welfare cuts.

And now two parties throwing away the golden economic opportunity of the green energy revolution.

Repeating the mistakes of the past.

The fact is that the Westminster consensus is squeezing the life out of Scotland’s economy.

You only need to look at other countries to see what we could have instead.

In the USA, President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act is investing 369bn dollars in the green energy revolution. The EU has pledged a trillion euros in their efforts to reach Net Zero.

Westminster could choose to do the same.

A genuinely ambitious public investment programme in the huge potential of green energy would have only upside.

It would create thousands of well-paid, skilled jobs, support industries the length and breadth of the country, deliver cheap, clean energy for consumers who are again worrying about energy bills and would make a major contribution to the fight against climate change.

Business understands that. The public understands that. The markets understand that.

The only people who seemingly don’t are those in the corridors of power at Westminster, where Labour and the Tories are fighting it out to prove who can invest the least.

This is what I mean when I say that Westminster isn’t working for Scotland.

That is why decisions made for us at Westminster – whether by Rishi Sunak or Keir Starmer – will inevitably fail.

The Westminster system is not set up to succeed, and it is certainly not set up for Scotland.

That is why we need to take a different path.

With the right choices, Scotland can still put ourselves at the forefront of the green industrial revolution.

We have the raw ingredients – the natural resources, the skilled workers, world-class universities, an unparalleled history of innovation.

And we have the political will.

The will to invest, the will to innovate. The will to back Scottish industry to be the green engine of the Scottish economy.

That’s why we need to take these decisions for ourselves – decisions that reflect our values not the values of the Westminster establishment.

Decisions made in Scotland, for Scotland, benefitting the people of Scotland.

The opportunity to take forward that bold, ambitious programme of investment in our green energy – creating jobs and supporting growth.

And crucially, it wouldn’t just be decisions about how to invest that would be taken in Scotland – but decisions about what to do with the revenues that flow from that investment.

More than anywhere else, the North East knows what it means to watch revenues from our natural resources flow elsewhere.

So let me today set out the core principle which will underpin Scotland’s approach to the renewable energy revolution.

It is Scotland’s energy – and it must first and foremost benefit the people and communities of Scotland.

That means that in energy rich Scotland, people shouldn’t be paying some of the highest energy bills in Europe during this cost of living crisis.

It means re-investing Scotland’s energy wealth back into our communities, rather than seeing it flow to Westminster.

It means every penny of taxation that is still to come from the North Sea, should be re-invested into growing the green economy.

And it means ensuring that the thousands of jobs we create in green energy are well paid, secure jobs with extended workers’ rights.

It means there can be no “cliff-edge” to oil and gas production, but rather a partnership that delivers a genuine just transition.

Our oil and gas industry has been good for Scotland. It supports hundreds of thousands of well paid jobs, directly and through the supply chain.

We will not abandon the industry, far from it. We are willing partners who want to work with the industry to move, at pace, in the just transition to Net Zero.

If we work collaboratively together then the prize is great. Our households with cheaper energy bills, economic growth for the country, and we will help power not only Scotland’s green energy revolution, but work with European friends to help power theirs.

That is the opportunity before us – and that is what the SNP will offer at this year’s election.

Westminster isn’t working for Scotland – and it’s time that decisions about Scotland were taken in Scotland, for Scotland, to benefit the people of Scotland.

Westminster isn’t going to do that for us.

We need to grasp this opportunity ourselves – the opportunity of the green energy revolution, and the opportunity of taking decisions in Scotland, for Scotland, with independence.

It’s clearer than ever that these issues now go hand in hand.

Only independence gives us the power to drive forward the investment Scotland needs to meet its full potential.

And this year people across Scotland have the opportunity to make their voice heard by rejecting a Westminster system that isn’t working – and voting for the SNP, the only party who will always stand up for Scotland’s interests.