A minister has suggested the government is “intrinsically opposed” to a windfall tax on energy firms.
In a Times exclusive published this morning, the paper alleges that No 10 aides are reluctant to the Treasury’s warming to the idea of a one-off tax on energy firms as they rake in record profits.
One Downing Street adviser told the paper that such a policy would be an “ideologically unconservative thing to do”.
Policing minister Kit Malthouse has been quizzed on the matter on this morning’s broadcast round, telling Times Radio: “Well, as I said to you before, my predilection as a Conservative generally is to have low and stable and predictable taxes and that retrospective taxation is to be avoided.
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“But there are Conservative administrations in the past who have felt the need to tax retrospectively and sometimes the circumstances might warrant that.”
He explained that whether such a tax could be rolled out was “obviously that is way above my pay grade,” but stressed that the Conservative party “are intrinsically opposed to that kind of taxation.”
“We want to see a pattern of investment from that industry that will help us with our medium and long term energy problems. We are very focused on that,” he added.
However he suggested such a move could lie ahead, saying that: “the Chancellor reserves the right to take all steps he thinks necessary and he is in conversation with that industry all the time I am sure.”
Indeed, Rishi Sunak’s speech to the CBI yesterday evening also suggested that cuts to income tax and VAT could be on the cards.
When Liz Truss was quizzed about a possible windfall, Liz Truss, Foreign Secretary, also spoke of lowering taxes.
During yesterday’s prime minister’s questions, Sir Keir Starmer repeatedly asked Boris Johnson why the government was doing the “hokey cokey” on a one-off tax on energy companies to ease the pressures of the cost-of-living crisis for families.
Starmer told the House of Commons: “Every single day he delays his inevitable U-turn, he’s choosing to let people struggle when they don’t need to.”
Reports suggest that a windfall income tax is possible “wildly popular”According to internal polling, the public is most satisfied.
On Tuesday, Labour tabled an amendment to the Queen’s Speech supporting a windfall tax, but MPs rejected the move by 310 votes to 248.