Home Economy Record profits prompt calls for windfall tax against Shell

Record profits prompt calls for windfall tax against Shell


London : Britain’s biggest trade union, Unite, led calls Thursday to impose a ‘windfall tax’ against Shell, after the Anglo-Dutch oil company reported the biggest-ever profits made by a UK firm.

“Shell shareholders are doing very nicely whilst the rest of us, the stakeholders, are paying the price and struggling,” Unite’s joint general secretary Tony Woodley said.

“Record profits of over thirteen and a half billion pounds at Shell and cumulative oil industry profits in excess of fifty billion in the last three years are, quite frankly, obscene. It is time the government acted,” Woodley said.

Windfall taxes are levied by governments against certain targeted industries when economic conditions allow them to experience above- average profits.

When Labour first came to power in 1997, it imposed a one-off windfall tax on the profits of recently privatized utilities companies, including British Gas, British Energy and British Telecom.

Unite said that the tax should be levied against “greedy” companies after Shell confirmed its annual profits was Dlrs 27 bn for last year, up by nearly 10 per cent and equivalent to Dlrs 3 million an hour.

Pensioners, motorists and industry are struggling with higher energy prices at a time the oil company was recording profits more than four times higher the Britain’s top retailer, Tescos, it said.

Motorist organizations have already complained about the soaring price of petrol, which rose to over Pnds 1 per liter (Dlrs 2) for the first time last November.

The Road Haulage Association, which is calling on the government to cancel April’s planned increase in fuel tax, described Shell’s profits as “absolutely scandalous.”