Government tax cuts will further enrich oil & gas executives already pocketing millions through the energy crisis

28th September 2022, London – Based on his 2021 salary of more than £6 million, Ben van Beurden, the CEO of fossil fuel giant Shell, could pay £368,921 less tax, according to analysis of the UK Government’s new tax cuts by Global Witness. Meanwhile, Bernard Looney, CEO of BP will save £271,282 from his salary of nearly £4.5 million.

This 12% increase in take-home pay for both oil and gas millionaires is at stark contrast with a 2% increase for the average British household, who on a median salary of £31,400 will save just £424. Meanwhile the average UK home will be paying up to £2,500 per year on energy bills, rocketing up 87% over 2021.

This £640,000 saving for the CEOs would cover the energy bills of 256 British households for the entire year, whilst both van Beurden and Looney’s post tax income could pay for a years’ worth of free school meals for 13,286 children.

Alice Harrison, Fossil Fuels Campaign Leader at Global Witness, said:

“The immediate priority for the new Prime Minister must be to support those suffering the most from a crisis caused by our dependence on oil and gas. But in an obscene and frankly bizarre turn of events, the Government’s first policies leave those who’ve made millions from this broken system even better off. This is a fossil fuel friendly government.”

“Shell have made record profits whilst energy prices have shot up over the past year, putting more and more into the pockets of their shareholders and executives. All the while British families have been staring into the abyss of choosing between heating and eating, amidst financially ruinous energy bills. It’s a disgrace that the Shell CEO can emerge from government action in an even better position.”

“The likes of Shell are the architects and beneficiaries of a fossil fuel-built energy system that is now fundamentally broken. Oil and gas dependency is making citizens poorer, emboldening and enriching the likes of Putin, and putting the future of humanity at risk. Those responsible for this system should be on trial for their role in climate breakdown, not generously rewarded.”

This eyewatering saving for Britain’s richest energy barons is a result of the new UK Government’s mini budget announced on Friday by Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, under the stewardship of new Prime Minister and former Shell employee Liz Truss.

In the three months between April and June this year, Shell made $11.5 billion (nearly £10 billion) in profit. Shell investors meanwhile received $7.4bn in the first quarter of 2022 and were expected to receive another $6bn as part of a share buyback scheme and $1.8bn in dividends. In August BP announced profits of nearly $8.5 billion between April and June this year, up from the $6.2 billion recorded in the first three months of 2022.

Global Witness is calling on the UK Government to first and foremost support those struggling to pay their bills, but it must also immediately invest in clean renewable energy and home insulation, to bring an end to the cycle of soaring energy prices from which fossil fuel dictators and millionaires stand to benefit most.