Today (2 August), Green Party co-leader Adrian Ramsay has called for a ‘super tax on dirty profits’ as energy giant BP reports its highest quarterly profit in 14 years, in the midst of the UK’s cost of living crisis.
Reporting £6.9 billion in profit during Q2, the company is facing severe backlash, as it was revealed yesterday that one in eight UK households have no way of making more cuts to prepare for rising inflation.
Commenting on the news, Ramsay said: “These dirty profits made by climate-wrecking corporations are completely obscene when millions of households are having sleepless nights over how they are going to pay their energy bills this winter. We need to super tax the grotesque profits of oil and gas companies to ensure that everyone has a warm home this winter.”
His words echo those of Campaigns Coordinator Tom Scott, who, writing for Green World in February, urged for a ‘Dirty Profits Tax’ on North Sea oil and gas producers, increasing tax from 10 per cent to 35 per cent to close the fuel poverty gap.
Ramsay continues: “Every week that goes by with no leadership from government is a week wasted that could have been spent insulating homes. And every pound that goes into the pocket of a fossil company executive is a pound that should have been spent on insulating the homes of lower-income households.”
Thus far, the Government has looked to an increased reliance on fossil fuels to help maintain energy supply as prices soar. This includes the provision of an extended licence to the controversial Cambo oil field in March, which was previously halted by pressure groups as its lifetime emissions would equal those of eighteen coal-fired power plants. Having initially pulled out of the project, Shell has since shown interest again in the midst of rising energy prices.
It was also reported in May that the Government had revived its interest in fracking, citing the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the ban on Russian oil and gas to promote ‘home-grown gas and oil’.
On the Government’s lack of support for those who will struggle, Ramsay adds: “But the Tories have left it too late. We cannot insulate enough homes fast enough to protect people this winter, which is why we need to adopt the policy of a social tariff, ensuring that the amount people pay for energy relates to their income. And to add £40 per week to the income of all those on universal credit and other legacy benefits to help with the knock-on effect of energy price rises on food and clothing.”
With inflation set to hit 12 per cent this October, a turn to alternative renewable energy sources may not even improve energy costs as we head into winter. Speaking to Green World in May, representatives from Octopus Energy, GEUK, and Ecotricity explained the connection between renewable energy prices and those of gas – thanks to ‘an outdated energy system’, increased demand for fossil fuels has also seen green prices go up.
They further highlighted energy independence and a quicker building of renewables as two ways the energy crisis could be tackled long-term, but, like Ramsay and Scott, call for an immediate windfall tax on North Sea operators to claw back on their profits and address the growing issue of fuel poverty.