Britain to waive oil and gas windfall tax

Article posted

20th Jun 2023

Read time

3-6 min read


Mollie Pinnington

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The UK is expecting to drop windfall taxes on gas and oil production if prices drop below a certain level 6 months in a row. This came from the finance ministry last Friday. The government hopes this will boost energy security in the UK.

The energy profit levy(EPL ) which is essentially a windfall tax was introduced last year as a jump in energy prices came about due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The energy industry has since warned that the high level of tax will reduce their output in the long term and decrease the country’s energy security even further.

Last year the EPL was raised from its initial 25% rate to 35% in November bringing the overall tax burden to 75%. This has raised 2.8 billion pounds so far.

The windfall tax is only expected to drop if prices do, however, the government do not expect the price floor mechanism for this to be triggered before the windfall tax’s planned end date in March 2028 anyway.

What is windfall tax?

Windfall tax is a type of taxation that is imposed on certain industries when their profits exceed a fixed amount. It is usually triggered by unexpected and dramatic increases in company earnings due to unforeseen events such as natural disasters or geopolitical changes. For example, with the recent Russia-Ukraine conflict, the UK government implemented an energy profit levy (EPL) on the oil and gas industry. The purpose of the windfall tax is to redistribute money from those who have benefited from an unexpected event to those less fortunate in society.

Windfall taxes are often imposed as a one-off payment or as a series of payments over time. The amount of taxation imposed usually depends on how much a company has profited.

Windfall taxes can help to improve energy security by allowing governments to reinvest the money they gain from these taxes into other forms of energy production. This can help to diversify a country's energy sources, enabling them to become less dependent on one form of energy. For example, with the recent windfall tax imposed in the UK, the government has been able to invest in renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. This will help to reduce the country's dependence on foreign sources of energy and improve its energy security in the long term.

Windfall taxes can also be used to fund social welfare programs or provide grants for research and development. In some cases, they can even be used to pay down the national debt.

Ultimately, windfall taxes can be a powerful tool for governments to redistribute wealth and improve energy security in their countries. They are often controversial, however, as some people do not believe companies should be taxed for profits they had no control over generating. Nonetheless, when used properly they can help to create a fairer society and increase energy security.


How does energy security benefit businesses? 

Energy security is an important factor that ensures businesses remain competitive and resilient to any external shocks. Energy security can be seen as the assurance of a reliable and affordable supply of energy for business operations both now and in the future. This provides businesses with the stability they need to plan for investments, hire more staff and grow their operations. In addition, having access to reliable energy sources can help businesses reduce their carbon footprint and improve their environmental sustainability.

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