Rishi Sunak threatens oil and gas giants with windfall tax

Rishi Sunak threatens oil and gas giants with windfall tax if they fail to plough money into UK energy supplies

  • Rishi Sunak threatened oil and gas giants with a windfall tax on their profits 
  • He wants them to increase investment to shore up Britain’s energy supplies 
  • It’s a reversal to previous opposition over fears it could hit investment and jobs
  • Mr Sunak warned that ‘nothing is ever off the table in these things’ 
  • Business Sec Kwasi Kwarteng is against the policy, calling it a ‘tax on jobs’

Rishi Sunak has warned oil and gas giants that they face a windfall tax on their profits if they do not increase investment to shore up Britain’s energy supplies.

The Chancellor seemed to signal an about-turn on Government opposition to a one-off raid on energy firms despite fears it could hit investment and jobs.

He said: ‘If we don’t see that type of investment coming forward and if the companies are not going to make those investments in our country and in our energy security, then of course that’s something I would look at.’

Mr Sunak warned that ‘nothing is ever off the table in these things’, despite ministers ruling out a windfall tax last month.

Kwasi Kwarteng, the Business Secretary, had warned the move would be ‘a tax on jobs, would harm investment and add to the uncertainty in oil markets’.

Rishi Sunak (pictured above with wife Akshata Murthy) has warned oil and gas giants that they face a windfall tax on their profits if they do not increase investment to shore up Britain’s energy supplies

Kwasi Kwarteng, the Business Secretary, had warned the move would be ‘a tax on jobs, would harm investment and add to the uncertainty in oil markets

Mr Sunak’s warning shot was fired during a discussion with users of the Mumsnet website in which the Chancellor, who has faced controversy over his family’s fortune, defended himself against claims he is out of touch.

He was cleared yesterday of breaching the ministerial code over his family’s financial affairs.

The Prime Minister’s ethics watchdog found Mr Sunak had not broken rules on conflicts of interest by holding a US green card. Mr Sunak referred himself for investigation after it emerged that his wife, Akshata Murty, held non-domiciled tax status, exempting her from paying UK tax on overseas earnings.

Lord Geidt found two instances where Miss Murty’s tax status ‘could have given rise to a conflict of interest’ for the Chancellor.

But the adviser on ministerial interests found that, in the first, the issue was properly declared, and in the second, a proposed change for some non-dom individuals did not affect Mr Sunak’s wife.

In advice to the PM, Lord Geidt wrote: ‘I advise that the requirements of the ministerial code have been adhered to by the Chancellor, and that he has been assiduous in meeting his obligations and in engaging with this investigation.’

Chancellor Sunak said: ‘If we don’t see that type of investment coming forward and if the oil and gas companies are not going to make those investments in our country and in our energy security, then of course that’s something I would look at’

The adviser did not believe Mr Sunak having held a US green card ‘would constitute an inherent conflict of interest’. He was also satisfied that there was no conflict of interest over both Mr Sunak’s blind investment trust and Miss Murty’s reported 0.91 per cent stake in Infosys, an Indian IT firm founded by her billionaire father.

Quizzed yesterday by Mumsnet about how someone in his position can empathise with hard-up Britons, Mr Sunak cited his grandparents who emigrated to the UK ‘with very little’, adding: ‘Of course now I’m in a fortunate position but I didn’t start like that, that’s not how my family started.’

But he provoked a fresh row after he argued it would be ‘silly’ to offer families further help with soaring energy bills right now.

Tulip Siddiq, Labour’s shadow economic secretary to the Treasury, said: ‘How out of touch is this Chancellor? It’s time to act.’

Meanwhile, Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner branded Lord Geidt’s report an ‘utter whitewash’. Miss Murty, an Indian citizen said to be worth hundreds of millions, earlier this month agreed to pay UK taxes on her worldwide income.

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