PMQs: Truss refuses to tax oil giants to fund energy bills freeze

"The face at the top may change but the story remains the same," said Starmer, as the pair went head-to-head over the PM's plans to tackle the energy crisis.

In her first Commons showdown with Keir Starmer at Prime Minister Questions, Liz Truss was accused of putting energy profits before working people after defending her opposition to a windfall tax.

Truss confirmed she will announce a package to help households with soaring energy bills tomorrow. When asked how she will fund the upcoming cost-of-living measures by the Labour leader, the new PM ruled out imposing a further windfall tax.

She said she is against enforcing a windfall tax on energy companies to deal with rising energy bills because it “will put them off investing in the UK.” Truss said her government will create long-term supply solutions, including building more nuclear stations and opening up more supply in the North Sea.

£170bn in excess profit

Informing Truss that the Treasury estimates that energy giants would net £170bn in excess profit during the next two years, Starmer accused the new PM of protecting energy companies and their “vast profits.”

Reminding the House that Truss was the fourth Tory prime minister in six years and that the “face at the top may change but the story remains the same,” Starmer said:

“The prime minister knows she has no choice but to back an energy price freeze, but the real choice is who is going to pay it. She knows that every single pound in excess profits she chooses not to tax is an extra pound on borrowing that working people will be forced to pay back for decades to come.”

Refusing to tax the energy giants, Truss is expected to put the rumoured £100bn bill on the national debt through borrowing more money.

Tearing into the new PM, Ian Blackford, SNP Westminster leader, said her record for being “straight talking” was “falling apart.”

“After nine questions she’s still not told us who will pay,” he fumed.

But perhaps the biggest talking point of an otherwise fairly uneventful first PMQs for the new Tory leader, was when SNP MP Hannah Bardell branded Boris Johnson “corrupt.”

Pointing to the new Prime Minister’s “flip-flopping on Brexit” and her “inability to understand global affairs”, Bardell asked Truss if her constituents would “have any faith that she can tackle the oncoming humanitarian crisis.”

 “Is she going to come out of her den at Number 10 and take real action or is she going to be as useless and corrupt as her predecessor?” the MP for Livingston added.

Speaker Lindsay Hoyle asked the SNP MP to withdraw the word ‘corrupt’, to which she replied:

“Sometimes the truth hurts, but I’m happy to withdraw.”

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson was nowhere to be seen.

Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward

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