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Windfall Tax Overview: £2.8bn Raised for Energy Support Schemes
The UK government plans to end the windfall tax on oil and gas profits by 2028 if prices normalize, raising concerns among fossil fuel companies cutting back on investment. This tax has generated £2.8bn to date to support energy schemes.
Conditional Scrapping: Government’s Response to Price Drop
To address investment cutbacks, the windfall tax will continue for five more years. However, if oil and gas prices return to historically normal levels for six months, the tax rate for companies will revert to 40% instead of the current 75%.
Factors Driving the Windfall Tax Decision: Historic Highs and Concerns
The windfall tax was implemented due to record profits following the Ukraine invasion, affecting companies like Shell and BP. While firms can offset tax liabilities on investments, the government warns that the UK’s domestic oil and gas supply may be at risk without ending the tax when prices decrease.
Revenue and Usage: Funding Household Energy Schemes
The windfall tax, known as the energy profits levy, has raised approximately £2.8bn to date, with an expected total of nearly £26bn by March 2028. These funds have supported energy price guarantee programs and other household energy schemes.
Climate Change Concerns and Industry Views
The International Energy Agency emphasizes the need to avoid new oil and gas projects for climate change mitigation. However, the Treasury believes an immediate halt to North Sea production would endanger the UK’s energy security.
Offshore Energies UK supports a predictable fiscal environment for continued energy production, highlighting the industry’s role in providing jobs.
Mixed Reactions and Future Implications
Industry and some politicians welcome the tax policy’s end in 2028, but campaigners criticize the government’s lack of action to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Labour raises concerns about loopholes and uncollected funds, while Liberal Democrats criticize the Conservatives’ handling of windfall profits.