As Shell reports eye-watering profits, calls grow for UK to nationalise energy

‘Our bills are rising to £3,000 while energy companies are making a killing. Bring energy into public ownership, so we can take control of our energy for the future.’


Oil and gas giant Shell has announced its highest profits in 115 years. As households across the UK struggle with soaring energy bills, Shell made £32.2bn ($39.9bn) in profit, double the figure recorded the previous year, and smashing the former record of $31bn, made in 2008.

News of the company’s obscene profits during an unprecedented cost of living crisis, sparked anger, and fresh calls for the UK to follow in other nations footsteps, and nationalise energy.

Noting that Germany, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Austria, Finland and France, have nationalised energy, trade unionist Howard Beckett says it’s time that Britain nationalises its energy too.

Richard Burgon MP said Shell’s “sickening profits show it’s time for bold action on energy.”

“With public anger at our privatised energy system higher than ever, now is the time for all of us to be stepping up the fight for an energy system fully in public hands so we can put people and planet before profit,” said the Labour MP for Leeds East.

We Own It, campaigners for the public ownership of services that are operated for people not profit, said  they are ‘outraged that Shell and BP are taking us for fools and raking in profits of £32.2bn. When in France, public ownership of EDF means their bills are capped.”

Nationalise Energy NOW petition

The campaigners have launched a ‘Nationalise energy NOW’ petition, which has already amassed almost 30,000 signatures. It calls for the chancellor Jeremy Hunt and business secretary Grant Shapps to nationalise the energy sector immediately.

“Our bills are rising to £3,000 while energy companies are making a killing. Bring energy into public ownership, so we can take control of our energy for the future,” the petition reads.

We Own It are calling for the government to tax BP and Shell permanently at 56 percent, the same rates as Norway. The campaigners explain how for every £100 Norway collects in tax on barrels of oil in the North Sea, in the UK we collect only £8. This means that in today’s energy crisis, Norway can use its $1.4 trillion sovereign wealth fund to pay 80 percent of people’s bills above a capped price. 

“We need to tax companies like BP and Shell properly by copying Norway – and use the money to cut people’s bills and invest in the clean, green energy of the future,” say the campaigners.

Also this week was the news that water bills are set to get the biggest increase in almost 20 years from April. They are due to rise by 7.5 percent.

The announcement sparked censure and calls for water to be nationalised as well as energy.

As Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Labour MP for Streatham, tweeted:

“Last year, English water monopolies released 2.7m+ hours’ worth of untreated sewage into our waterways.

“This year, the same companies are going ahead with the biggest bill increase for 20 years.

“This is what rewarding failure looks like.

“Take water into public ownership.”

Sentiment shared by Kate Osborne, Labour MP for Jarrow, who said:

“Disgraceful that energy giant Shell has raked in its highest profits in 115 years whilst people are struggling with the cost of living.

“We need a windfall tax, a wealth tax, and to nationalise our essential services.

“Poverty is a political choice that the Tories keep on making.”

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

Image credit – YouTube screengrab

Comments are closed.