THE Scottish oil and gas industry is one of the big losers of the UK Spring Budget, the Chancellor has said.

Jeremy Hunt made the comment – which will attract further anger from both the Conservatives north of the Border and the SNP – on Thursday morning.

The Chancellor had rebuffed reported threats to quit from Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross over plans to extend the windfall tax in order to fund a cut to National Insurance.

In his Spring Budget statement on Wednesday, Hunt confirmed he would “extend the sunset on the Energy Profits Levy for an additional year to 2029, raising £1.5 billion”.

READ MORE: Jeremy Hunt snubs Scottish Tory pleas with windfall tax extension in Budget

Ross has criticised the move, saying he will not vote for it in the Commons, and Scottish Tory minister Andrew Bowie has also spoken against the extension. If he were to vote against it, he would have to resign his position in the UK Government.

Speaking to the BBC Radio 4 Today programme on Thursday, Hunt was asked who the big losers from his Budget were. He singled out “non-doms” due to changes in tax, and the Scottish oil and gas industry.

Hunt said: "Who are the losers? I'm trying to answer your question directly. Foreigners who are resident in the UK who are able to pay a cheque and avoid paying tax at the same rate as everyone else, the so-called non-doms. They are going to be paying significantly more tax.

"I've also asked the Scottish oil and gas industry to pay an additional contribution. Because the war in Ukraine is lasting longer, oil and gas prices are going to stay higher for longer. I think it's fair they can make an additional contribution."

The words are likely to come back to haunt the Tories north of the Border. BBC journalist Nick Eardley said Hunt (below) had thrown "a bit of a grenade to his Scottish colleagues this morning".

The National:

Hunt further clashed with Radio 4 Today programme presenter Amol Rajan as he accused the broadcaster of giving a characterisation of the economy which is “unworthy of the BBC”.

Rajan said he was stating facts when the Chancellor objected to being told: “We’ve seen seven quarters of GDP per head that’s been revised downwards. We’re hooked on foreign labour. The birth rate is collapsing. Many public services are creaking. Councils are going bust. Those are facts.”

Hunt replied: “I think the characterisation that you’ve just given of the British economy is unworthy of the BBC.”

Hunt added: “I’m afraid I don’t share your pessimism.”

READ MORE: Westminster is failing us – it's time to stop respecting the ‘mother of parliaments’

As the two spoke over one another, Rajan said: “The BBC is an organisation with tens of thousands of people who do lots of different things.”

Hunt also signalled that the Tory government would like to get rid of National Insurance on Wednesday.

Responding, Labour shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said: “Yesterday, at the end of the Budget, the Chancellor started floating this idea that he was going to get rid of National Insurance altogether.

“Well, that would cost £46 billion. And I would like to know where that money is going to come from, because I just wouldn’t make a promise like that without being able to say where the money is going to come from.

“I think it is incumbent on politicians to be honest about the trade offs that have to be made.”

However, Paul Johnson, the director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, said that both the Conservatives and Labour are engaged in a “conspiracy of silence” about what will happen to the public finances after the General Election.

He said: “This was not a Budget which addressed the real challenges we are facing because it was not transparent about what those challenges are.

“Government and opposition are joining in a conspiracy of silence in not acknowledging the scale of the choices and trade-offs that will face us after the election.

“They, and we, could be in for a rude awakening when those choices become unavoidable.”