The cost of living crisis package announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak is a conjuring trick. He is giving with one hand, while taking with another.
In the small print of his announcement was a multi-billion pounds in tax relief for North Sea fossil fuel barons, even though they are currently raking in record profits while having to pay rock bottom taxes.
This will do nothing to lower spiralling bills now. For new fields in the North Sea, it takes on average 28 years from being granted a licence to beginning production.
Incentivising more fossil fuel ‘investment’ will do nothing to lower energy bills now. What new fossil fuel production will do is worsen the effects of climate change – which will more extreme weather events, and food and water shortages that will eventually affect us all.
The Energy Profits Levy will provide some urgent relief to millions of people in the short term. But a windfall tax is only ever a stop-gap measure, treating the symptoms of an economic crisis and not its causes.
From a Great Homes Upgrade to a major renewables drive, and bringing essential services and utilise back into public hands, there is so much more the Government can and should be doing to tackle the cost of living crisis. Not only could such schemes drive down bills by making homes better insulated, we could be harnessing the power of our sun, sea, and wind to create cheap and abundant energy for all, and create hundreds of thousands of well paid jobs in every community of the UK.
The Chancellor has made a political decision to deal with the symptoms of the crisis, instead of the causes.