Cost of living: Rishi Sunak refuses to rule out windfall tax on oil giants as senior Tory MPs back down | Political news

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Rishi Sunak refused to rule out the introduction of a windfall tax on oil and gas producers in a bid to cut household energy bills – as some senior Tory MPs joined Labor in calling for the policy implementation.

MEPs discussed ‘short-term and long-term increases in the cost of living’ during the fifth day of debate on the Queen’s Speech.

Sir Keir Starmer party forced a vote on an amendment that regretted that an exceptional fiscal policy had not been included in the Queen’s Speech in the middle of the cost of living crisis.

The amendment was defeated by 310 votes to 248, a majority of 62 votes.

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But former Tory cabinet minister Robert Halfon and the Tory chairman of the influential Treasury Select Committee have signaled their support for the policy.

Mr Halfon called oil company bosses ‘new oligarchs’ with their ‘multi-million pound salaries’ and ‘multi-million pound bonuses’.

“I will ask him [Mr Sunak] to consider both a windfall tax on oil companies – which we can then use to reduce taxes on the lowest paid or reduce energy bills – and also to introduce a pump watch monitor to ensure that there is fair competition and that consumers get a fair deal at the pumps,’ he told the Commons.

Conservative Treasury Select Committee Chairman Mel Stride added that he would also support a windfall tax as it is a “reasonable measure” in the current economic climate.

“I think the arguments he (Ed Miliband) has made are generally sound, and I too am very happy that my right hon. friend the Chancellor has indicated that the door is at least partially open, although he has cautioned about the investment performance of affected companies,” Mr. Stride said.

Meanwhile shadow climate change and net zero secretary Ed Miliband said it was “shameful” the government had yet to introduce a windfall tax and said Mr Sunak to “swallow your pride and carry on with it”.

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He called on Tory MPs to join Labor in backing the “just and principled measure” which he said has the backing of business, unions and the “overwhelming majority of the public”.

“The truth is they have no more excuses, and amidst the chaos and confusion as to where they stand, I think a massive U-turn is slowly heading up the hill,” Mr. Miliband.

The Chancellor told MPs she does not believe windfall taxes are the solution to all problems, but added that if the oil and gas giants do not reinvest their profits in “growth, the ’employment and energy security’ policy could be introduced.

“If it doesn’t happen soon and on a meaningful scale, no options are on the table,” he told MPs.

The Chancellor has previously said he was not ‘naturally drawn’ to the idea of ​​a windfall tax, but would be ‘pragmatic about it’ in light of the large profits that oil companies and gas are currently generating due to high prices.

BP and Shell announced bumper profits earlier this year as energy prices soared.

Read more:
What is an exceptional tax?

Can you really fight your way through the inflation crisis?
Four simple changes to lower your energy bill

Meanwhile, Mr Sunak dismissed criticism over the economic aid provided to households by the Treasury.

“To suggest there is no help available is both misleading and irresponsible,” he said.

Mr Sunak also admitted that “the next few months are going to be difficult” for households as inflation soars globally.

“There is no action the government can take, no law we can pass, that can make these global forces disappear overnight,” he told MPs.

“No honest chancellor can stand here and say prices won’t go up any further.”

The Chancellor also told MPs he would act to cut costs for people, but did not say when that would happen.

It comes like a new survey of 2,000 Britons has found rising bills mean one in four have had to skip meals.

More than four in five people are worried about the rising cost of living in the coming months, according to the Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for Sky News.

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