Lsoaring energy prices and the threat to purchasing power have never been so serious in the United Kingdom since the 1950s. So much so that the Conservative government of Boris Johnson does not rule out, in defiance of all liberal convenience, to impose an exceptional tax on the superprofits of energy suppliers, and in particular the oil companies, enriched by the prices of black gold and gas, and very generous for their managers and their shareholders .
Goal, “support households”. These are likely to need, in the coming months, such an “energy shield”, introduced in France with the cap on the increase in electricity at + 4% and the aid of 18 cents per liter of fuel, financed by the State. Labor opposition, unions and associations have been calling for this surcharge for weeks, which was first rejected on May 18 by the Tory majority in the House of Commons.
We do not penalize business investment, she pleaded, taking up the argument of the energy sector. On the Conservative benches, a few discordant voices were nonetheless raised to denounce the salaries and bonuses of leaders who had become, in the unflattering expression of deputy Robert Halfon, the “new oligarchs”.
A chancellor in the crosshairs
Companies could escape the surcharge – so far ruled out in France – if they increase their investments in North Sea hydrocarbon fields and offshore wind power, the Johnson government is considering. With the approach of winter, the energy bill of the British will increase by another 42%, a burden which will be added to the surge in food prices.
A minister is in the crosshairs of the opposition: the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, whose fortune reaches 856 million euros. Never had a leading politician been on the list of the Sunday Times listing the wealthiest people in the country. This ex-manager of hedge funds recently affirmed, in front of industrialists, that“no government law can make these global forces disappear overnight”.
In a country where 6.5 million households suffer from fuel poverty, inflation has reignited the debate on inequality. The High Pay Centre, a think tank on high earners, has calculated that if household wealth had grown at the same rate as that of the top twenty on the rich list between 2010 and 2020, the average family would have £205,000. moreover. “The next few months will be difficult”, Mr. Sunak warned. Not for everybody.