Autumn Statement: Jeremy Hunt outlines plans for windfall taxes
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British Gas owner Centrica has reported record profits for the 2022 financial year of £3.3billion, more than triple that of last year. Figures have been fuelled by the rising energy prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last February. But do you think they should pay higher windfall tax for their profits? Vote in our poll.
The huge profits have sparked criticism, with Sharon Graham, general secretary of the Unite union, declaring the figures as “obscene”. She said: “These energy companies are showing us everything that is wrong with the UK’s broken economy.”
Most of Centrica’s profits came from its nuclear and oil and gas business, rather than from British Gas’ supply business, which contributed £72million. The total £3.3billion also included the sale of its Spirit Energy oil and gas business in May. Centrica chief executive Chris O’Shea said the company would pay 1billion in tax for 2022 and of this around £54million was as a result of the windfall tax. He added that he expects the group to pay £2.5billion in windfall taxes over its lifetime.
The Energy Profits Levy was raised to 35 percent in January, and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said this would remain until March 2028. But only applies to profits made from extracting UK gas and oil. The Government estimated that the windfall tax will raise £14billion in 2023.
The huge profits have renewed calls for tougher windfall taxes to be introduced for energy giants. Friends of the Environment campaigner Sana Yusuf said: “The new Energy Security and Net Zero secretary needs to step up and back growing calls for a tougher windfall tax on the excessive profits of fossil fuel companies like Centrica to help fund the investment in insulation and homegrown renewables needed to bring down bills and cut emissions.”
The Labour Party has called for the windfall tax to be expanded to cover a greater proportion of profits. Shadow Climate and Net Zero Secretary, Ed Miliband, said: “It cannot be right that, as oil and gas giants rake in the windfalls of war, Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives refuse to implement a proper windfall tax that would make them pay their fair share.”
Similarly, Labour’s Shadow Scottish Secretary, Ian Murray, called for the Government to tax energy companies “properly”.
So what do YOU think? Should British Gas pay windfall tax on massive profits? Vote in our poll and leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
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