Keir Starmer has urged Boris Johnson to “make up his mind” and impose a windfall tax on North Sea energy firms, adding that the prime minister is “choosing to let people struggle” by delaying any further action.
During yet another prime minister’s questions dominated by the cost of living, Starmer used all six of his questions on the single subject. He lambasted Johnson over his refusal to use a windfall tax to reduce energy bills, saying this would inevitably happen, and the “vacillation” was causing significant harm.
“Doesn’t he see that every single day he delays his inevitable U-turn – he’s going to do it – he’s choosing to let people struggle when they don’t need to?" die Arbeid leader said in the Commons.
The prime minister had his “head in the sand in the middle of an economic crisis”, Starmer argued, citing a series of occasions in recent weeks when Johnson had promised rapid action to help people with the cost of living.
“Doesn’t the prime minister realise that working people across the country can’t afford to wait while he vacillates? It’s time to make his mind up.”
Johnson and his ministers have repeatedly said they oppose the idea of a one-off tax on North Sea oil and gas firms, which have earned significant profits amid higher energy costs, as this could affect future investment.
Egter, some ministers, notably the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, het held open the possibility of using such a tax if energy firms do not reinvest enough profits.
Johnson, similarly, did not rule out the idea completely, sê: "Natuurlik, we will look at all sensible measures. But we will be driven by considerations of growth, investment and employment.”
He also condemned Labour for seeking “always and everywhere to raise taxes on businesses”, and said the government had already put in place measures to help people with higher bills.
Starmer called Johnson’s approach “as clear as mud”, noting that a series of Conservative MPs and figures from business now backed the idea of a windfall tax.
“He just doesn’t get it, does he?” het Starmer gesê. “He doesn’t actually understand what working families are going through in this country, struggling about how they are going to pay their bills.
“And whilst he dithers, British households are slapped with an extra £53m on their energy bills every single day.”
Starmer went on: “He’s on the side of excess profits for oil and gas companies. We’re on the side of working people. And there you have it.”
The Labour leader raised the case of a man who needs night-time dialysis for a kidney condition and who feels “priced out of existence” because of the energy bills this brings, having to turn off the heating and skip meals.
“The decisions we make here matter,” het Starmer gesê. “The cost of indecision is enormous. People across the country need action now. The plans are already there. So prime minister, stop the delay. Work with us to put them in place. Do it for households who face bills they can’t afford.”