Is Rishi Sunak really threatening a windfall tax on oil and gas?

If the Labour Party has a popular policy, why not steal it, asks John Rentoul

Saturday 30 April 2022 21:30
<p>I wonder if Sunak might be preparing the ground for the rest of the U-turn</p>

I wonder if Sunak might be preparing the ground for the rest of the U-turn

The chancellor did a J-turn on Wednesday – a half U-turn – when he said that a windfall tax on the oil and gas companies was “something I would look at”. Until then, Rishi Sunak had criticised the Labour Party’s proposal, saying that it would deter the companies from investing, including in green energy.

He told Mumsnet that “if we don’t see that type of investment coming forward” he would look at the idea, adding that “nothing is ever off the table in these things”.

What is going on? One possibility is that he feels he should sound more sympathetic to the idea before BP and Shell announce big profits this week. It at least gives ministers a “line to take” in response to the inevitable anti-capitalist outcry. It also reminds the companies – not that their public relations departments need any reminding – that when they announce their profits, they must make a big fuss about how vast sums will be ploughed back into investment.

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