Sir John Major calls for windfall tax on energy companies, branding price hikes “unacceptable”

Conservative ex-Prime Minister Sir John Major has stunned Number 10 by calling for a windfall tax on the excess profits of energy companies, some of which have announced energy prices increases of more than 10% in the last two weeks.

Major described the price rises as “unacceptable” and said action was needed as the move would force families to choose between heating their homes and buying food over the winter.

In a speech at a press gallery lunch in Westminster, Major urged his party to be compassionate, saying, “governments should exist to protect people, not institutions”.

A government-imposed one-off levy to recover the cost of cold weather fuel payments this winter would be “entirely reasonable”, added Major.

Downing Street responded by saying that there was no such plan in the pipeline, but that Major’s stance was “interesting”.

Speaking to the BBC later, Major said that there was a “crisis” in the energy market at the moment and there was a “very real chance” the government would have to increase the amount of assistance it gave to people in the event of cold snap.

In response to the ex-Prime Minister’s comments, Ed Miliband tweeted: “Sir John Major makes Labour’s argument: David Cameron stands up for the energy companies not hard-pressed families.”

However, Major did not give his backing to Labour’s fixed-price energy policy.

During his address, Major said:  “Ed Miliband’s heart was in the right place but his head has gone walkabout”, and that the plan was unworkable.

Readers' comments (1)

  • I UNDERSTAND MR MAJORS COMMENTS. BUT HOW WOULD THE TAX COLLECTED GO TO THE RIGHT PEOPLE. A VERY SIMPLE THING THE GOVERNMENT COULD DO WOULD BE TO INSTRUCT ALL ENERGY SUPPLIERS TO SUPPLY ENOUGH ELECTRIC AND GAS TO HEAT ONE ROOM FOR EVERY USER IN THE LAND BY MAKING THE FIRST SAY 200 UNITS CHARGED AT A VERY LOW COST AT 2 PENCE PER UNIT. THIS WAY THERE WOULD BE NO MEANS TEST NEEDED AND THE ENERGY COMPANIES DO ALL THE WORK. I KNOW IT WOULD BE A UNIVERSAL CREDIT FOR ALL, BUT AT LEAST THE NEEDY WOULD NOT GO COLD THIS WINTER.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Social Bookmarks