9th June 2023, London – Commenting on an announcement by the UK Treasury that the windfall tax on oil and gas could soon be suspended, Alice Harrison, Fossil Fuels Campaign Leader at Global Witness, said:

“People up and down the country, who’ve just experienced one of the most difficult winters in memory at a time when oil and gas companies made record profits, will rightly be seething that their government wants to remove the windfall tax on those profits. The first few months of 2023 have continued to see profits into the billions for the likes of BP and Shell. Now is not the time to be asking those companies to pay even less tax. This is a government on the side of polluters, not the people.”

“Even with the windfall tax in place, the UK has seen far less income from fossil fuel giants than many countries around the world. Britain received the equivalent of just 22p per citizen in tax from Shell last year, whilst the same company paid Norway the equivalent of more than one thousand pounds per citizen, without producing much more oil and gas there than it does in the UK. Suspending or reducing the windfall tax will render an already ineffective policy totally pointless.”

“What this move shows is that we have a government that has learned nothing from the energy crisis and is intent on returning to business as usual as quickly as possible. That means doing nothing to reduce our dependence on oil and gas, doing nothing to provide price security for consumers, and doing nothing to rein in climate breakdown. The fossil fuel industry has used its enormous influence and power to fight the windfall tax, and it is an affront to humanity that it appears to have won.”

In 2022, inclusive of fees, Shell paid just £15 million in tax to the UK, compared to £6.3 billion to Norway, despite the windfall tax being in place.