Council leader rejects call to back windfall tax on Big Oil (again)

Press Release
Divest East Sussex [1]
11 October 2022

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PHOTOS: https://bit.ly/3ekCDBq [Climate campaigners from across East Sussex, Brighton and Hove, outside County Hall, Lewes on 11 October 2022. PHOTO: Divest East Sussex]

COUNCIL LEADER REJECTS CALL TO BACK WINDFALL TAX ON BIG OIL

As Big Oil rakes in massive windfall profits during cost-of-living crisis, Council Leader claims he ‘can’t effect the wider world’



Tuesday 11 October, County Hall, Lewes: The Leader of East Sussex County Council, Councillor Keith Glazier, rejected a call for him to publicly back a proper special permanent tax on Big Oil, at this morning’s Full Council meeting. Councillor Glazier told the Council: ‘I can’t effect the wider world’.



During the meeting, Councillor Wendy Maples (Green, Forest Row) called on Cllr Glazier to issue a statement supporting a proper special permanent tax on Big Oil – set at very high rate, as they have in Norway, where the overall tax rate on the oil and gas sector is 78% [2] – as a means of tackling both the cost-of-living and climate crises. The UK government has repeatedly refused to bring in such a tax [3].


The Council meeting was preceded by a demonstration outside County Hall, calling on East Sussex County Council (ESCC) to take action to ‘Make Fossil Fuels History’. East Sussex Pension Fund member Sarah Hazlehurst also handed-in the first 1,646 signatures on a petition to the County Council, calling on it to stop investing in fossil fuels and publicly support a proper windfall tax on Big Oil and a rapid transition to a system that provides affordable green energy for everyone [4].

The Council’s own rules say that the Council must debate any petition that reaches 5,000 signatures.

The world’s highest-ranking diplomat, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called ‘for all developed economies to tax the windfall profits of fossil fuel companies’ and to re-direct this money to ‘countries suffering loss and damage caused by the climate crisis’ and ‘people struggling with rising food and energy prices.’ [5]

A spokesperson for Divest East Sussex said: ‘According to Treasury estimates, UK gas producers and electricity generators may make excess profits totaling £170 billion over the next two years [6]. This money could be used to help protect those struggling to pay for food and energy, as well as those suffering as a result of the climate crisis. But the Government refuses to tax these companies properly. Instead it’s making the public pay to protect these companies colossal windfall profits in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis. We need East Sussex County Council to support a proper windfall tax on fossil fuel producers. Indeed, a public statement of support for such a move from East Sussex County Council would put significant pressure on the government to change policy precisely because this is a Tory-controlled Council. If you agree then we urge you to help force a debate on the issue at County Hall by adding your name to our petition at https://tinyurl.com/affordablegreenenergy.’

NOTES
[1] https://divesteastsussex.wordpress.com
[2] https://www.norskpetroleum.no/en/economy/petroleum-tax/
[3] https://inews.co.uk/news/business/shell-boss-says-energy-firms-should-be-taxed-more-despite-liz-truss-rejecting-windfall-tax-1894424
[4] See https://tinyurl.com/affordablegreenenergy
[5] https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/sg/speeches/2022-09-20/secretary-generals-address-the-general-assembly
[6] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-30/uk-predicts-up-to-170-billion-excess-profits-for-energy-firms

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