DOUGLAS Ross’s pleas not to extend the windfall tax on North Sea oil and gas have reportedly been snubbed as the Chancellor looks to raid energy giants’ profits to fund tax cuts.

Lobbying from the Scottish Conservative leader appears to have fallen on deaf ears in the Treasury amid reports Jeremy Hunt will maintain the Energy Profits Levy to fund a 2% cut to National Insurance for millions of workers.

Hunt’s plans to cut National Insurance will be worth £450 to the average worker, according to reports in both The Times and Sky News.

It will leave Ross red-faced after he told journalists at the Scottish Conservatives’ party conference that he was lobbying the Chancellor, the Prime Minister and Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho about the Spring Budget, The Herald reports.

Asked about a possible extension of the windfall tax, Ross said it would be an “unacceptable blow” to employers and workers in the North East. He added he was “strenuously” making that case to the UK Government.

The National: Jeremy Hunt

Hunt (above) is set to unveil his Spring Budget on Wednesday and appears certain to announce a National Insurance cut.

He will argue doing so will be worth £900 in total for the average worker when combined with the 2% cut that was announced in the Autumn Statement last year.

The Office for Budget Responsibility has significantly downgraded the amount of “fiscal headroom” available for tax cuts or spending commitments. The independent spending watchdog said the Chancellor had £12.8 billion to play with – down from a previous prediction of £30bn.

Hunt is also expected to freeze fuel duty which will cost about £5bn.

READ MORE: Scottish Tories call on Rishi Sunak not to extend windfall tax for energy giants

This package is expected to be funded by the windfall tax extension, a new levy on vaping and an additional rise in tobacco duty, The Times reports.

The SNP have called for a £15bn boost to NHS funding, as well as a major green investment programme of £28bn per year and a package of other measures to ease the pressures of the cost of living crisis.

Stephen Flynn, the party’s Westminster leader, said: “The SNP is calling on the Chancellor to use the available headroom to deliver a £15bn funding boost for the NHS, and tax the super-rich to deliver a £400 annual energy bill discount for households.

“And instead of cutting capital investment, the SNP is challenging the Chancellor to go for growth by investing at least £28bn in the green energy gold rush and rejoining the EU single market.”