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A leading Scottish MSP has called for a windfall tax on energy companies and a cap on tariff prices for smaller businesses.

Anas Sarwar MSP was addressing independent retailers at the Fed’s Scottish trade and business conference in Glasgow on Tuesday, March 29.

He said: “The energy market is broken. The large energy companies are making record profits and the system is not balanced and fair. The multi-national companies duck and dive and avoid their responsibilities.

“It would be a tragedy that, having got through the two years of hell caused by the pandemic, businesses now fail because of the rise in energy prices.”

Mr Sarwar went to on to praise retailers for their commitment to local communities during the Covid crisis, saying: “I recognise the roles you played during the pandemic. You carried on working and kept your doors open despite all the risks involved – you led from the front.

“We have to recognise that retailers and their staff are on the frontline and need financial support as we come out of the pandemic.

“They also need to feel safe and secure at work – it is simply unacceptable for anybody to feel at risk, under threat or under pressure at work.”

Mr Sarwar paid tribute to Daniel Johnson MSP for getting the Protection of Workers Act passed by the Scottish Parliament but warned: “The legislation needs to be backed up, so it’s not just a piece of paper. The police and the Crown Prosecution Service must work together so that people can work with freedom from fear.”

Tom Arthur MSP, the Scottish minister for public finance, planning and community wealth, outlined the retail strategy “Getting the Right Change” which he published last week.

He said: “As I made very clear to the Scottish Parliament – the publication of this strategy is just the beginning. It is the start of a new conversation with businesses and trade unions, customers and workers.

“About how to support our retailers overcome challenges and seize opportunities as we rebuild after Covid. About how our recovery should improve the lives of people and their families – people who work in retail, and the customers they serve.

“Our vision is for a thriving, successful and profitable retail sector in Scotland that is an exemplar for inclusive economic growth. This strategy can make that vision a reality and ensure that we do, indeed, get the right change.”

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