An overwhelming majority of Brits would back a windfall tax on oil companies after BP was revealed to have made £5 billion profit in the first quarter against the backdrop of a mounting cost-of-living crisis.
The oil giant saw underlying replacement cost profits – its preferred measure – more than double to $6.2 billion (£5 billion) for the first three months of the year from $2.6 billion (£2.1 billion) a year ago.
Shell is also expected to announce mammoth profits as high as £6.5 billion in the coming days, a similarly massive hike from the same time in 2021.
Calls for a windfall tax to help those suffering at the hands of the cost-of-living crisis have been sounded after the results were announced.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has voiced firm opposition to the proposition despite Chancellor Rishi Sunak raising the possibility.
The Cabinet minister was adamant that it would be a “disincentive” to investment by energy giants despite his colleague in the Treasury using the threat to encourage spending, as their profits soar along with customers’ bills.
But BP’s own chief executive seemed to say differently.
Speaking to The Times correspondent Emily Gosden yesterday, he confirmed that the company would still press ahead with the £18 billion of planned UK investments, even if a windfall tax was imposed.
It comes as new polling shows increased support for the introduction of such a levy.
A FairFuelUK Opinion Poll of over 5,000 people found over 70 per cent of drivers would back the tax, while over 80 per cent of those who walk or cycle as their primary form of transport would be in favour.
Howard Cox, Founder of the FairFuelUK Campaign said: “With pump prices 20p/litre higher than necessary, and BP today declaring soaring underlying profits, it goes against every ounce of my free-market soul to call for a windfall tax.
“But BP’s oil and gas profits are a grotesque insult to those crippled by the cost of living crisis. Thousands of FairFuelUK supporters are struggling with the price of filling up their tanks and paying for their home energy bills.
“Meanwhile fuel supply chain businesses driven by such big oil corporations are wallowing in a lucky cash bonanza that will no doubt be passed onto shareholders who never have to ever worry about putting meals on their tables.
“Boris and Rishi must wake up to the cost of living crisis and implement an oil corporation windfall tax. Plus as a matter of urgency also introduce FairFuelUK APPG’s long called for and much needed pump pricing watchdog, PumpWatch.”