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Boris Johnson’s Government is poised to announce a windfall tax on oil and gas giants as ministers scramble to address spiralling cost of living pressures.

Despite months of resistance to the idea of a one-off levy on profits of fossil fuel firms, Rishi Sunak is expected to make a U-turn to fund a package of support for struggling Brits.

The announcement has been brought forward from after the Queen’s Jubilee as the Prime Minister tries to move on from his Partygate woes.

A Tory source said on Wednesday that the arguments for a windfall tax had been “tested rigorously” within the Treasury to ensure “the gain is worth the pain”.

Labour said the Chancellor had been “dragged kicking and screaming” into backing its call for a windfall tax, while critics suggested the timing had been shifted to distract from Sue Gray’s scathing Partygate report.

The Government has been facing calls for a windfall tax on oil and gas giants ( Alamy Stock Photo)

Here are the times the Prime Minister resisted the idea.

February 9 2022 – PM says a windfall tax would raise prices for Brits

The Prime Minister said the idea of a levy on oil and gas giants would hit consumers.

He told MPs: “This is a global problem, caused by the spike in gas prices, but what Labour would do is clobber the oil and gas companies right now [Interruption.] Yes they would – with a tax that would deter investment in gas, just when this country needs gas as we transition to green fuel.

“It would be totally ridiculous, and it would raise prices for consumers.”

March 9 2022 – Johnson says a tax would damage efforts to divest from Russian oil and gas

Boris Johnson told MPs that imposing a windfall tax would stop energy firms moving away from Russian oil and gas.

Pressed on the idea by Keir Starmer at PMQs, he said: “The net result of that would simply be to see the oil companies put their prices up yet higher and make it more difficult for them to do what we need them to do—which, by the way, I think they are doing very responsibly at the moment—which is divesting from dependence on Russian oil and gas.”

Cost of Living

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They’ll be bringing you the latest money news stories and also providing specialist advice.

Whether it’s rocketing energy bills, the cost of the weekly shop or increased taxes, our team will be with you all the way.

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March 30 2022 – PM says a levy would ‘deter investment’ by firms

Challenged again to back the idea by Keir Starmer, Boris Johnson said that a windfall tax would “deter investment.”

He told the Commons: “That is a classic example of what Labour got wrong during its period in office.

“The oil and gas companies are now investing £20 billion in ensuring that we have long-term energy supplies. I remember that the 1997 Labour manifesto actually said that there was “no economic case” for more nuclear power.”

He added: “Everything that Labour is proposing would deter investment, meaning higher prices for consumers and households up and down the land being worse off.”

Boris Johnson made it clear he doesn’t like the idea of a windfall tax ( PA)

May 12 2022 – PM says ‘I don’t like them’

In an interview with LBC, Mr Johnson did not rule out a windfall tax but said he didn’t think it was the right way forward.

Asked if he would ruling out a windfall tax, he said: “I don’t like them. I don’t think they’re the right way forward.

“I want those companies to make big, big investments.”

May 24 2022 – PM says he’s “not attracted to new taxes”

Boris Johnson said he was “not attracted intrinsically to the idea of new taxes” when grilled about the idea of a windfall tax.

He expressed his doubt about the proposal but insisted the Government would “put our arms around people” as they did through the pandemic.

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