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A Lesson From The Banks On Windfall Taxes

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A lesson from the banks on windfall taxes

A PR plan for under fire energy giants: go to the government and tell them, on reflection, you think a windfall energy tax may not be so bad an idea.

Since it might well be coming your way anyway, you look magnanimous.

The Tories are thankful, since it means they don’t have to look like they just folded to Labour pressure.

Which means you have plenty of cards to play with the politicians otherwise.

M’learned colleague Neil Collins (for our younger readers: a former Daily Telegraph City Editor of some repute) makes the following point.

That a windfall tax might be better than being forced to invest in the UK in low-carbon projects that in truth, are never really going to fly.

(Environmental groups believe every single green investment is a good idea; this plainly cannot be true.)

Collins reminds us that in 1981 Nigel Lawson was told to get the banks to take on various export finance duties to save Treasury money. If they refused, they would face a windfall tax on booming profits.

Lloyds chairman Jeremey Morse looked at it, and decided this was a bad deal, an open-liability. The banks took the one off hit instead.

Maybe Shell and BP should take a similar line.

Press release of the day

Half of young Britons think they are stuck in dead-end jobs, says this from the Open University. Presumably they work for newspapers.

Over a third of 20-35 olds are desperate to quit, and 82% dream of being their own boss.

It will be interesting to see how long the Great Resignation continues given inflation, etc.

Stories that will keep rolling

1) How much interest did the government pay on its debt last year?

2) If money printing were a solution, wouldn’t Zimbabwe be the richest nation on earth?

3) Is Shaftesbury’s merger with Capital & Counties going to work out?

4) Which PMIs are worse, ours or Europe’s?

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