UK earning extra Pnds 5 billion in North Sea oil-tax revenue


London : The British government is earning Pnds 5 billion (Dlrs 10 bn) extra in North Sea tax revenues due to record oil prices, according to accountants, Grant Thornton.

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The accountants calculated that at the current oil price of about 118 dollars per barrel, the UK Treasury receives an extra Pnds 12.75 million a day in oil-tax revenue.

With unleaded petrol prices rising to a new record average of Pnds 1.11 per liter, it calculated that the annual windfall from the North Sea was enough to reduce fuel taxes, which account for some 70 per cent of the price of petrol, by 9 pence per liter.

The calculation about the extra tax revenues comes as motoring organizations are campaigning for the government to again delay plans to increase fuel tax by a further 2 pence a liter in October.

Grant Thornton said that deferring a 2p duty hike on petrol and diesel by six months would cost the Treasury just Pnds 550 m in contrast to its North Sea windfall.

Edmund King, of the Automobile Association said Prime Minister Gordon Brown can go much further than at the very least scrap that planned 2 p tax hike in autumn.

“We believe they should cut at least another 2p a liter off duty, especially if oil prices stay above 100 dpb. Motorists are feeling the pain, and it is unjustified,” King said.

The Petrol Retailers Association has already predicted that unleaded prices would rise by a further 2p a liter within days, and hit Pnds 1.15 a liter by the summer.

Some forecasts have suggested that it could reach Pnds 1.50 per liter before autumn.