Environment

Shell’s profits have soared to £7.3bn as the energy crisis leaves families unable to pay their bills

Record profits for oil and gas companies come at a time when millions are struggling to pay energy costs at home.

Shell sign

Shell has reported bumper profits for q1 2024. Image: Will Lane

Oil giant Shell has reported record profits of £7.3bn for the first three months of 2022, prompting yet more calls for a one-off windfall tax to ease energy costs for ordinary households. 

The news comes just days after BP announced profits of £5bn for the same three months – the highest quarterly profit recorded by the company in more than a decade.

Shadow climate change and net zero secretary Ed Miliband, accused the government of making a “political choice” by failing to levy a windfall tax on oil and gas companies

Oil and gas companies have been making record profits during the energy crisis, with high demand for energy and the war in Ukraine pushing up prices globally

Soaring profits have led campaigners and the Labour Party to call for a one-off windfall tax on oil and gas companies to help ordinary people pay their bills. Since April, millions of households have seen their energy costs rise by more than 50 per cent.

Countries such as Spain, Italy and Romania have levied windfall taxes on oil and gas companies, while in France, an energy price cap of 4 per cent has forced the national energy supplier to bear the brunt of higher costs.

Despite hints from chancellor Rishi Sunak that a windfall tax could be on the horizon, the government has continued to resist the calls, saying it would deter investment. 

BP itself, however, has said a windfall tax would not deter the company from investing in Britain. 

The government has come under increasing pressure in recent weeks over the cost of living crisis, with millions of people struggling to survive as prices of everyday goods and bills have risen.

The rise in energy costs has been particularly dramatic due to the removal of the energy price cap at the start of April. Energy bosses warned last month that millions will face a “truly horrific” situation in October, when bills are expected to rise again.

Ed Miliband MP said it was “shameful” the government has failed to implement a windfall tax.

“Another day, another oil and gas company making billions in profits, and yet another day when the government shamefully refuses to act with a windfall tax to bring down bills,” he said. 

“Even the boss of BP has said this will not impact investment. The Conservatives have run out of excuses, and been exposed for the political choice they are making by not acting.

“The truth is that the government’s priority is protecting oil and gas giants, not supporting the British people.”

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