(Bloomberg) – UK Business Secretary Quasi Quarteng has warned energy companies that they could face windfall tax if they do not “step in” to new investments, but declined to say how much it would cost them to avoid it.
“We want to see the cost – I’m not going to measure it – but we want to see the actual cost, and there’s evidence that they’re doing it,” Quarteng said in an interview with Bloomberg TV in the United States on Friday. Companies are “very aware that if they do not go to that plate they will be subject to windfall tax. I think this is a reasonable conversation.”
Kwarteng’s comments come as Boris Johnson’s government is under intense pressure to provide more assistance to the British, who are battling the worst pressures on living standards, with rising inflation in the 1950s. The idea of a windfall tax on energy companies, which has benefited from the price hike, is gaining political support among some members of the ruling Conservative Party in the UK.
But ministers are concerned that a tariff risk would hinder investment, while more traditional Tories oppose a policy they see as anti-business. Quarting made it clear that his choice was not to impose a windfall tax, and insisted that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sage Sunak, had the option of imposing one if necessary.
Quarteng said companies, including Shell PLC and BP PLC, know what the government expects from them, and that claimants deny their promises in writing.
“I think the commitments are already there. I’m not sure if we need any kind of legal document or quasi-legal document,” he said.
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