BP profits more than double to £23bn leading to calls for tougher windfall tax

“Hard-pressed families will rightly feel furious – they are being treated like cash machines."

BP sign on a blue sky

Last week we saw oil and gas giant Shell report record profits of £32.2bn, its highest in 115 years. Today BP reported that its annual profits more than doubled to £23bn in 2022, as a sharp increase in gas prices linked to the Ukraine war boosted its earnings, leading to further calls for a tougher windfall tax.

All this at a time when ordinary families struggle to make ends meet during a cost of living crisis, with 8.4 million households expected to be in fuel poverty from April, according to National Energy Action.

News of BP’s profits have led to frustration and anger at the current windfall tax, which is wholly ineffective given the loophole it contains.  That loophole means oil and gas companies get massive write downs on their tax bills if they invest in more oil and gas in the UK.

“The loophole amounts to us effectively giving £11bn to oil and gas companies and that £11bn is enough to make sure that every NHS worker and every teacher in the UK gets an inflation matching pay rise”, Tessa Khan, Director of Uplift, an organization that supports a rapid and just transition away from fossil fuels in the UK, told the BBC last week.

Reacting to BP’s profits, Labour’s Ed Miliband tweeted: “It’s yet another day of enormous profits at an energy giant, the windfalls of war, coming out of the pockets of the British people

“What is outrageous is that as energy giants rake in these sums, Rishi Sunak still refuses to bring in a proper windfall tax.”

The Trades Union Congress has also called for a higher windfall tax.

TUC General Secretary Paul Nowak said: “As millions struggle to heat their homes and put food on the table, BP are laughing all the way to the bank.

“Hard-pressed families will rightly feel furious – they are being treated like cash machines.

“This boils down to political choices.

“Ministers are letting big oil and gas companies pocket billions in excess profits. But they are refusing to give nurses, teachers and other key workers a decent pay rise.

“We need a government on the side of working people – not fat cat energy producers.

“That means imposing a higher windfall tax on the likes of BP and Shell. It means giving public servants fair pay. And it means giving households extra financial support as bills rise this April.”

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas tweeted: “Another day, another fossil fuel giant announces record profits. Firms like BP are climate criminals, polluting our planet & escaping with billions. Rather than make them pay for climate-wrecking damage, Govt has designed massive windfall tax loophole worth billions. It must stop.”

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

(Picture: Image credit: Mike Mozart – Creative Commons)

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