Seize the oil giants’ cash mountain

Tehran Oil Refinery (Wikimedia Commons)

£40 billion. That’s the eye-watering sum oil giants BP and Shell are set to make this year alone. A year that has seen a dire cost-of-living crisis hit the working class so significantly that over 1.3 million people are predicted to fall into absolute poverty.

But with a Tory government in Britain stuffed to the brim with private school pals, ex-bankers, and millionaires, empathy is non-existent. The people in power are more closely aligned to the oil company shareholders than the average worker.

BP and Shell have avoided paying taxes on North Sea gas and oil for three years. And what’s Boris Johnson’s reasoning behind avoiding imposing a windfall tax on energy firms? Well, the companies ‘don’t want one’, of course.

The prime minister said: “[Energy firms] don’t want a windfall tax and there’s a good reason for that, and that is because it would stop investment in new technology and in new green power that we need”.

We can’t rely on the goodwill of energy companies to make the decision to divert even a crumb of their profits to helping the planet. We also can’t rely on these companies to not hike prices year after year.

With wages remaining stagnant, but fuel, food, and basic necessities going through the roof, workers have become the sacrificial lamb for decades of austerity, mismanagement, and greed.

If the government was as protective of the working class as it is of the gas and oil companies, then maybe some of the £400 billion spent propping up big businesses during the pandemic could’ve shortened food bank queues, extended the £20 increase to Universal Credit, heated houses for pensioners, or provided suitable housing for working-class families. So, we’re calling for BP, Shell, and other major energy companies to be nationalised under democratic working-class control and management. The billions they pocket could be used for socially useful, sustainable development, and to help end the profit-driven cost-of-living crisis.

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May 2022
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