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The Telegraph

Greens want to pull plug on North Sea oil industry, Sturgeon is warned

Nicola Sturgeon has been warned that handing Green MSPs jobs in her Government would spell “disaster” for Scottish businesses, as it emerged that a frontrunner to become a minister believes the oil and gas sector should be shut down as soon as next year. Lorna Slater, the Green co-leader, claimed the SNP’s approach to North Sea oil and gas extraction amounted to “maximum destroying of the planet” and said there was a need to “pick a date” to entirely kill off the industry. In an obscure online interview, filmed late last year and unearthed by The Telegraph, Ms Slater suggested the timeframe for ending a sector that supports 100,000 jobs could be “two or five years”. Meanwhile, Ms Sturgeon’s spokesman yesterday left the door ajar to potential income tax hikes on the middle classes as part of a possible power-sharing deal with the Greens, just weeks after the SNP was elected on a manifesto promise to freeze rates and bands for five years. While he said he “did not forsee” the SNP abandoning its tax pledge, he admitted there would be an “ongoing dialogue” with the Greens and added: “we’re not going to give a running commentary.” The Greens, who back large hikes in income tax for wealthier Scots and replacing council tax with a levy based on property values that would also drive up bills for the better-off, insisted their radical manifesto would “set the context” for power-sharing talks. Ms Sturgeon has signalled her willingness to compromise to strike a “groundbreaking” deal with the Greens, and has confirmed their MSPs could be handed ministerial roles under a formal pact. Douglas Ross, the Scottish Tory leader, warned yesterday that allowing Greens into Government would cement the impression that the SNP held the private sector in contempt. “Instead of bringing in business people who understand how to create jobs, it’s the Greens who may get a seat around the First Minister’s table,” he said. “A Green party that doesn’t even believe in economic growth and is willing to risk the tens of thousands of jobs supported by our oil and gas industry. “A nationalist coalition with the Greens is a disaster for anyone who was hoping to see an end to the SNP’s anti-business approach.” It is understood that Scottish business representatives have been privately alarmed at the prospect of Green MSPs wielding power, due to their unapologetic anti-capitalist agenda and far-left policies.