Windfall tax on energy giants should be ‘no brainer’ for Rishi Sunak

Windfall taxes 'are not the easy answer to the problem' says Sunak

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There has been increasing demand for Rishi Sunak to introduce a windfall tax on oil and gas companies, including BP and Shell, as prices soar. Earlier this month, Shell reported its highest ever quarterly profits, with the energy company making $9.13billion (£7.3billion) in the first three months of the year.

Likewise, BP reported a rise in profits as a result of the increased global price of gas and oil.

However, so far the UK Government has ruled out introducing a windfall tax — a one-off tax enforced when a company in the private sector makes a large profit on something they are not responsible for.

Proponents of such a tax say funds raised could be used to pay for spiralling energy bills as Britons face a cost of living squeeze.

The Labour Party has called for the UK to follow Spain and Italy in implementing the tax.

While Mr Sunak previously said he is not “naturally attracted” to the idea, he has refused to rule out the possibility, remaining “pragmatic about it”.

He said windfall taxes are not a solution to every problem but in this instance, if profits are not put back into “growth, job and energy security” it could be introduced.

As a result, readers were asked their opinions on introducing a windfall tax on energy giants.

In a poll that ran from 11am on Tuesday, May 17, to midday on Thursday, May 19, asked: “Should Rishi Sunak raise money through an oil and gas windfall tax?” 

A total of 1,265 people answered with the overall result being “yes”, gaining 81 percent (1,027 people) of the vote. 

A further 18 percent (225 people) said “no” and just one percent (13 people) said they did not know.

Dozens of readers shared their thoughts in comments left below the accompanying article.

Many were in favour of a windfall tax on oil and gas companies, with one reader, username GavsRules writing: “Of course, it’s a no brainer.”

Username Concerned Brexiteer said: “There’s no doubt about it the Government should impose a windfall tax because currently the oil giants and garages are taking the mick and appear to be blatant opportunists, with the current trend of increasing prices, whilst at the same time making mega-profits…now it’s time for them to pay their dues.”

The Labour Party forced a vote on an amendment expressing regret that a windfall tax was not included in the Queen’s Speech last week.

The amendment was defeated by 310 votes to 248, a majority of 62 votes.

Ed Miliband, the shadow climate change and net-zero secretary, said it was “shameful” that a windfall tax was yet to be introduced.

He told Mr Sunak to “swallow your pride and get on with it” and called for Conservative MPs to back the “fair and principled measure”.

Other readers expressed concerns over the benefit of a windfall tax with username Cjjs writing: “That would push prices up further for the public.”

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Some suggested alternatives to a windfall tax in their comments.

Username Mastermariner said: “NO, cap the price of fuel to keep down the cost of living and help everyone.”

Username Johnnierick wrote: “Hit the energy suppliers by cutting wholesale price.”

And username SoltonGris said: “No, the cost will only be passed on to the consumer later along with even more tax!  

“A cap on the tax intake should be put in place so the Government do not get a huge ‘windfall’ at a time when we are all struggling.”

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