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GREEN campaigners accused the government of a glaring double standard today after imposing a windfall tax on renewable energy producers while ignoring the obscene profits of oil and gas companies.
The government has announced that it would introduce a “cost-plus revenue limit” in a bid to break the link between high gas prices and the amount made by electricity producers.
It said that as gas prices have soared over the last year, many of Britain’s wind farms and solar farms were paid a lot more than normal for their products, even though their costs had not increased very much.
But the plan prompted immediate accusations that the government is attempting to smuggle in a windfall tax by the back door.
Greenpeace UK policy director Dr Doug Parr said: “Was it just a dream or did we all hear the Prime Minister say, just weeks ago, she was against a windfall tax?
“Now she’s going to impose a de facto one after all but only on electricity generators, not a proper one on oil and gas firms.
“This glaring double standard makes no sense. It’s almost as if Liz Truss’s belief in the free market only applied to big polluters.
“Of course, it’s right that industries profiting from the energy crisis should give up lots of their extra cash to help people struggling with their bills, but then why is the government refusing to properly tax fossil fuel giants?”
He said it was Britain’s dependence on gas which was “driving up prices and bringing misery to millions of households.”
“Bringing in a windfall tax on oil and gas profits could raise enough money to help people with their bills now and fix our draughty homes so we can keep costs down for good,” he said.
“The Prime Minister has already done half a U-turn on this — she may as well complete it.”
Renewable UK chief executive Dan McGrail warned that the move risks “skewing investment towards the fossil fuels that have caused this energy crisis.
“We are concerned that a (revenue) price cap will send the wrong signal to investors in renewable energy in Britain,” he said.
Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg has denied that the plan amounts to a windfall tax.
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