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LABOUR will call for a vote in the Commons on Tuesday on a windfall tax on energy profits, to give Tories another opportunity to back the party’s plans for a one-off levy on oil and gas companies.
The expected profits of North Sea oil-and-gas firms for 2022/23 are higher than the combined rise in energy bills for every household in Britain, according to Labour’s analysis of data from the Office for Budget Responsibility.
BP and Shell alone have made £12.37 billion profit in the first three months of 2022, the party said, despite claims by Cabinet ministers that the companies are struggling.
In an amendment to the Queen’s Speech debate, Labour will propose the one-off tax to help fund greater support for families struggling with the highest rise in energy bills since the 1970s.
The tax plan has received widespread support from unions, campaigners and even senior business figures such as the chairmen of Tesco and John Lewis.
There have been mixed messages from the government on such a levy, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak saying that while he is “not naturally attracted” to the idea, “no option is off the table.”
And Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We’ll have to look at it,” before saying: “I don’t think [windfall taxes] are the right way forward.”
Shadow climate change secretary Ed Miliband said it was shameful that the pair are refusing to back the tax.
He said in a statement: “Labour will give the government another chance to support our windfall tax.
“It tells you everything you need to know about this government that they continue to prioritise the oil and gas companies making record profits instead of standing up for working families and pensioners.”
On Sophy Ridge On Sunday, the Labour MP also said he believes that the Chancellor will ultimately impose a windfall tax because it is “an unanswerable case.”
Mr Miliband said: “We face a social emergency in this country.
“Of course, the right thing to do is to levy a windfall tax. It is frankly obscene that the government is refusing to do this.
“I’m not interested in their internal machinations about this, because every day that goes by when they refuse to do the right thing is another day when millions of people in this country have sleepless nights about how they are going to afford their bills.”
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said that the Chancellor has “woefully failed” to help families struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.
She said workers are being treated like “cash machines” and called on Mr Sunak to boost the minimum wage through an emergency budget.
“All the evidence is that prices have been driven by increases in energy prices, certainly not wages, which are set to fall in real terms,” she told Sophy Ridge.
“What we need is for the Chancellor to come back with that windfall tax on energy companies that would provide some immediate relief.
“We’ve had enough of lessons from Conservative MPs on cooking or buying value brands.
“I think they are looking incredibly out of touch with what most people are experiencing – people on low incomes are very good at managing their budgets.”
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng reiterated today that Mr Sunak is “taking nothing off the table,” but said he himself remains opposed to a tax as it would supposedly deter new investment.
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