Boris Johnson has refused to rule out the introduction of a windfall tax which would help to relieve pressure on the cost of living crisis.
Speaking to LBC’s Nick Ferrari, Johnson said that while he believed a disadvantage of windfall tax would be the impact it would have on investment, the prospect of such a tax was still something to be looked at.
Johnson said: “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.”
When asked by Ferrari whether he would completely rule out a windfall tax, Johnson did not say whether that would be the case, instead saying that he did not “like them”.
He added: “I didn’t think they’re the right thing. I don’t think they’re the right way forward. I want those companies to make big, big investments.”
The comments come in response to Bernard Looney, the chief executive of BP, saying that BP’s plans for investment would not be affected by a windfall tax.
Robert Halfon, a Conservative MP and the chair of the education select committee, has joined calls for oil companies to be subject to a windfall tax, labeling their executives as “the new oligarchs”.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: “I do think that the government should consider properly a windfall tax.
“Oil companies or oil bosses are the new oligarchs – one of them earning a salary over £76m, getting a £4.5m bonus.”
Reports suggest that the Treasury was also considering introducing a windfall tax to help ease the cost of living crisis. According to the Daily Mail, the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has asked Treasury officials to look into plans to introduce the tax, with a source telling the paper that a one-off levy would be a “no-brainer if the chief executives themselves are saying they have no problem with it”.
The proposal of a windfall tax on North Sea oil and gas has been a policy the Labor party has pledged over the past few months, with Labor estimating that the tax would reduce the average household energy bill by £200 and would remove VAT from domestic energy bills over a year.
Profits on North Sea oil and gas firms are taxed at 30% corporation tax plus a 10% surcharge, however Labor have proposed raising the combined rate to 50%.
On Tuesday, Labor said that a windfall tax could raise more than £2bn.