Exclusive: UK voters support windfall tax on oil and gas firms, new poll reveals

Sienna Rodgers
© MajestiX B/Shutterstock.com

Voters across the UK support the Labour proposal of introducing a windfall tax on oil and gas companies that have recently made bumper profits to tackle the energy price crisis, exclusive polling by Savanta ComRes for LabourList reveals.

New research has found that a total of 55% back a windfall tax and just 9% oppose the idea, with a further 20% saying they neither support nor oppose it and another 16% saying they are not certain about their view.

The results of the poll also showed that support for a windfall tax amid the energy crisis is high across the political spectrum, with backing from 62% of 2019 Conservative, 70% of Lib Dem, 85% of Brexit and 59% of Labour voters.

Rachel Reeves has accused Rishi Sunak of choosing to “shield” oil and gas companies with a new “buy now, pay later” scheme for addressing rising household energy bills that “loads up costs for tomorrow”.

After it was announced that the energy price cap would rise to £1,971 in April, an increase of £693 for the average household, the Chancellor set out plans to mitigate the impact in a House of Commons statement.

He told MPs: “It is not sustainable to keep holding the price of energy artificially low. For me to stand here and pretend we don’t have to adjust to paying higher prices would be wrong and dishonest.”

Reeves highlighted that Shell has revealed their profits quadrupled to $20bn in 2021, saying: “Dividends up, profits up, and people’s energy bills up, too.” But Sunak replied that a windfall tax would “deter investment”.

Analysis from the TUC this week revealed that energy bills are set to rise at least 14 times faster than wages this year, as the Russian invasion of Ukraine exacerbates the ongoing energy and cost-of-living crisis.

The research published by the federation of trade unions reported that utility bills would increase by 54% when the price cap rises in April, whereas average weekly wages are estimated to rise by just 3.75% this year.

The TUC has called on ministers to reduce household costs by using the funds generated by a windfall tax on energy companies to provide energy grants that at least match future rises in the price cap for vulnerable households.

Keir Starmer reiterated the demand for a windfall tax at Prime Minister’s Questions last week, as he focused on the impact of rising energy bills and accused Boris Johnson of “protecting energy profits, not working people”.

To what extent do you support or oppose a windfall tax on the profits of oil and gas companies?

Strongly support – 32%
Somewhat support – 23%
Neither support nor oppose – 20%
Somewhat oppose – 5%
Strongly oppose – 4%
Don’t know – 16%

Sum: Support – 55%
Sum: Oppose – 9%

Polling by Savanta: ComRes for LabourList. Fieldwork conducted 11th-13th March 2022. Poll of 2,192 adults in the UK.

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