BP criticised as large profits reported in first quarter of 2023

BP criticised as large profits reported in first quarter of 2023

Petrol pumps, where prices remain high. Credit: StockLeb/ Shutterstock.com

BP draws criticism, with big profits in the spring of 2023, while fuel prices remain high.

Tuesday, May 2, BP announced £4bn profits for the first quarter of 2023. The British oil and gas multinational has been criticised as fuel prices remain high, sparking calls for higher taxation of similarly large, wealthy corporations.

As the BBC wrote on Twitter: “BP reports stronger than expected profits after high energy prices lead to calls for firms to pay more tax”.

With opposition political parties calling for changes to tax law, Labour leader Kier Starmer expressed the need for a ‘proper’ windfall tax on energy companies, saying to BBC Breakfast:

“Of course we want BP and others to make profits so they can invest but these are profits that they didn’t expect to make, these are profits that are over and above because the world price of energy is so high.”

Many in the UK will take great umbrage to these profits, as wholesale gas prices are seen to be significantly lower than at the end of last year, yet consumer energy prices remain high and taxes levied on companies like BP remain comparatively low.

Green Party politician Caroline Lucas said on Twitter:

“BP are climate criminals – polluting our planet & raking in obscene profits. Rather than make them pay for their climate-wrecking damage, this Govt has designed a massive windfall tax loophole to hand over billions more. It’s funding climate destruction.”

The Energy Profits Levy (EPL) was introduced last year and set at a rate of 35 per cent. This could mean some gas and oil companies paying up to 75 per cent on UK profits, but these companies can claim losses and UK business investments against the amount owed.

Money gained from the EPL has been used to limit UK energy consumers’ maximum annual spend to £2500, but some have argued that a fairer solution would be to directly increase taxes for fossil fuel corporations.

Residents of the UK will hope that with the continued fall of wholesale gas prices, they should see significant savings in their household energy bills. So far though, the trend has not been reflected in consumer energy prices and continues to infuriate ordinary working people, struggling with cost-of-living increases across the board.

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Written by

David Laycock

Dave Laycock has always written. Poems, songs, essays, academic papers as well as newspaper articles; the written word has always held a great fascination for him and he is never happier than when being creative. From a musical background, Dave has travelled the world performing and also examining for a British music exam board. He also writes, produces and performs and records music. All this aside, he is currently fully focussed on his journalism and can’t wait to share more stories from around the world and beyond.