Boris Johnson finally vows to consider windfall tax on bumper oil firm profits

Boris Johnson finally vows to consider windfall tax on bumper oil firm profits to help families cope with soaring bills

Boris Johnson has promised to look at introducing a windfall tax on the profits of oil and gas companies to help households struggling with rising bills.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is threatening to hit energy firms with a one-off levy if they fail to invest enough in the UK.

The Mail revealed yesterday that the Treasury had been told to look into a potential tax. 

Ministers had ruled it out over fears it could stop firms investing, but they have warmed to it as concerns grow that the industry is not increasing its spending despite huge profits.

Seeking to head off pressure for a windfall tax, BP committed yesterday to reinvesting all profits from its North Sea oil and gas production over the next decade into the UK.

Chief executive Bernard Looney said: ‘This decade… we expect to reinvest every pound that we make, and hopefully more.’ 

He told BP’s AGM yesterday that a windfall tax would not stop its plans to invest £18billion in the UK by 2030. 

Its profit for the first three months of this year more than doubled to £4.9billion.

Boris Johnson said these sorts of taxes deter investment from things such as new technology and new energy supply

Pressed on Mr Looney’s comments during an interview with LBC radio, the Prime Minister said he didn’t like windfall taxes, but added: ‘We’ll have to look [at] it.’

But he added: ‘The disadvantage with those sorts of taxes is that they deter investment in the very things that they need to be investing in – new technology, in new energy supply.

Mr Sunak said: ‘I’m pragmatic about it… but these companies are making a significant amount of profit at the moment because of these very elevated prices.’

He added: ‘What I want to see is significant investment back into the economy to support jobs, to support energy security, and I want to see that investment soon. 

‘If that doesn’t happen, then no options are off the table.’

Tory backbench MP Robert Halfon yesterday labelled oil company bosses ‘the new oligarchs’, adding: ‘I do think that the Government should consider properly a windfall tax.’

But Conservative former minister Sir Christopher Chope said windfall taxes were ‘a simplistic solution which always end up hurting the ordinary people who work in this population hardest’.

Downing Street said: ‘We do keep options on the table – rightly so.’


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