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BP accused of ‘grotesque profiteering’ following bumper profits of £4bn in first three months of the year

OIL and gas giants were accused of “grotesque profiteering” today after BP reported that it had raked in an eye-watering £4 billion in just three months. 

The mammoth profit total for the first quarter of 2023 was down from the near £5bn the energy firm pocketed in the same period last year following Russia’s attack on Ukraine. 

But the combined profits of both BP and Shell have now hit a whopping £55bn over the last year as gas and electricity bills have more than doubled for Britons already struggling with 40-year high inflation and plummeting take-home pay.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “BP’s grotesque profiteering is continuing at pace.

“Profiteering is a blight on the economy which is driving prices higher, leaving workers poorer while businesses struggle to keep the lights on.”

She accused Tory Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of being “asleep at the wheel,” a charge echoed by TUC head Paul Nowak who said that energy companies “have been allowed to get away with treating the British public like cash machines.

“The government has left billions on the table by refusing to impose a proper windfall tax on the likes of BP,” he said.

“We could have lower household bills and an energy system that served the public if government taxed excessive profits, introduced a social tariff and created public ownership of new clean power.”

A Treasury spokesperson claimed that the government’s “energy profits levy” — eventually introduced following Labour pressure last May — is “being used to ease the pressure on families up and down the country.”

But shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves slammed the inclusion of a tax break for investments energy firms “were likely to make anyway,” leading to an £11bn handout to bosses and shareholders.

The official opposition urged Downing Street to close the loophole and bring in a “proper” windfall tax to fund an immediate council tax freeze. 

Ms Reeves said: “Britain has huge potential but we’re being held back by 13 years of Tory economic mismanagement.

“The cost-of-living crisis is hitting households and needs to be tackled — the government must get it head out of the sand.”

Mathew Lawrence, head of research and campaign group Common Wealth, warned of a “massive upward transfer of income from ordinary people and business to wealthy investors.”

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