It’s clear that the BBC is sympathetic to those politicians who favour raiding the cash assets of the energy companies as a means to obtain cash to then bribe, sorry I mean help “poorer families” struggling to pay their bills. This article is typical of BBC bias. It starts by putting the case in favour of the alleged “windfall tax”. Then, it provides space for an opposing view. But it then carefully segues the recent profits of the energy companies with a poll from the Observer to suggest that the majority of the public favour this tax grab. All very subtle and all contrived to convey the idea that government raiding the profits of private business is an honourable and worthy course of action.

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63 Responses to TAX GRAB.

  1. backwoodsman says:

    Yup, pretty sick making standard beeboid stuff – never a sugestion that the problem is not a shortage of revenue, just the socialists’ ability to waste inordinate sums of tax payers money !
    No serious analysis of the inevitable repercussions of robbing companies, ie that they move their headquarters to a lower tax domicile.
    Just admiration for the 80 doughty labour MP’s working overtime in their hols , bashing business , (business has always been below a beeboids notice, after all when you just take what you want from the tax payer, it all seems so irrelevant !)


  2. MrLouKnee says:

    All the government has to do is stop these companies ripping ppl off who are on prepayment meters and they’ll automatically be bettter off


  3. Martin C says:

    The ‘windfall tax’ is really just another raid on private pensions. The eventual value of my pension is dependent on the success or otherwise of the pension fund – and a lot of it is invested in the stock market, of which BP, British Gas etc form a sizeable part. If the profitability of these companies is reduced, then so is their dividend yield, and so eventually therefore is the size of our pension pot. Of course the BBC doesnt have a problem with this – we are forced to pay for their pension fund under threat of criminal action. The ability of their fund to pay out is not constrained by the success or otherwise of underlying investment.


  4. gunnar says:

    Morning David,

    Have read the article and with all will in the world, where is the bias? If anything, the arguments against windfall tax appear to get more column inches.

    With regards to the YouGov poll, polls do not seem to count once they are not in line with your particular view of the world.


  5. Niallster says:

    The oil companies are still nervous about investing in the North Sea after Beans last tax grab, the ring fence corporation tax supplement in 2005.

    The DTI got 30 minutes warning it was coming.

    Another tax grab would seal the fate of the North Sea forever.


  6. Bob says:

    Funny that polls ONLY count for the BBC when they are in line with THEIR particular view of the world!


  7. Redders says:

    Would the tax grab be anything to do with subsidising the 10p tax row ?


  8. Cheeta says:

    Martin C:
    “- we are forced to pay for their pension fund under threat of criminal action.”

    You could sell your TV and watch news / programmes on the web as I do, thereby loosening the BBC’s grip. If enough do this, ultimately the BBC will wake up to their failings – or if not then it will at least founder in its current tellytax guise.


  9. Gerald Brown says:

    Another poll recently said that final salary pension schemes schemes in the private sector were disappearing at a great rate. Another fine example of the law of unintended consequences arising from Mr McBeans £5bn a year compounded “windfall” tax take in 1997/8 from those insurance etc. companies providing private pensions. Another good example – the new need to pay full business ratest on unoccupied industrial premises resulting in demolition to avoid them.


  10. Original Robin says:

    Have any of the advocates of windfall taxes been asked what the money would be spent on ?


  11. Piranha says:

    The World at One today was almost entirely devoted to the need for a windfall tax, echoing the BBC website. The major issue of the day, Georgia, only got a brief interview at the beginning.


  12. Cockney says:

    Outrageous though this proposal is in my book I can’t really see the bias in the article. The highlighted quote is anti.


  13. Niallster says:

    Tony Woodley spouting his lefty bollocks unopposed on Radio 2 as we speak.


  14. Martin says:

    Cheeta: I like to watch my extensive collection of DVD movies on a large TV. Why should I still have to pay for a TV licence?


  15. Lurker in a Burqua says:

    Now you’re Talking!

    Protesters stormed the offices of the state broadcaster NBT, forcing it off the air. Police arrested several dozen protesters, but then a second wave broke through police lines to reach the station.


  16. David Vance says:

    Hi Gunnar and Cockney,

    The bias here, in my view, lies in the construction of the item. It starts providing the pro-tax grab, is careful to posit the contrary view, then sets up the profit position of the energy companies before the final flourish of a poll which reinforces the starting point of the item. It’s skewed, and were I trying to endure readers were positioned to think what I wanted, that is exactly how I would write it. Or so the latest B-BBC poll of readers categorically stated….


  17. TPO says:

    Correct me if I am wrong, but does not Shell derive most of its profits from overseas operations, and is it not jointly Dutch/British, and has it not moved the Shell board to the Hague, and are they not running down their UK head office on the South Bank.

    If all that is the case then perhaps all this knee jerk Labour/BBC nonsense about ‘windfall’ taxes might be counterproductive, paricularly as it is Labour/BBC/gruniard stupidity that has brought the UK to its current parlous state.


  18. Michael says:


    A TV license is required only if watching live TV broadcasts. So if you de-tune your TV, unplug aerial etc so it cannot receive TV signals then you can use it for whatever other purpose you like, DVDs, Games consoles etc without requiring a license.

    You’ll probably receive lots of harassment from the BBC when you stop paying the TV license, but if you are not watching live TV you have nothing to fear. Don’t contact the TV Licensing (a trading name of the BBC) or speak to the people who may knock on the door.

    In addition, you could always get a TV tuner and a small aerial for you PC so you can watch live on your computer.

    See and for more info


  19. Sutekh says:


    In addition, you could always get a TV tuner and a small aerial for you PC so you can watch live on your computer.
    Ohh, dangerous! After all, those tv detector vans roaming the streets would still spot that, wouldn’t they?


  20. Michael says:


    Yeah, the ones which number about a dozen at most and whose detection capabilities have never been used as evidence in court! 😉

    I have a TV tuner and aerial which are small and can be taken out of the USB port and hidden if required… 😀


  21. Lee Moore says:

    gunnar : Have read the article and with all will in the world, where is the bias? If anything, the arguments against windfall tax appear to get more column inches
    Maybe you have a squint ? Here’s the article sorted into pro-windfall tax, anti, and “neutral” chunks (in two posts.) The pro is more than twice as long as the anti (and has the headline.) And then the “neutral” isn’t very neutral • it basically contains (a) the government sitting on the fence, saying, maybe we’ll do this by higher carbon levies, (b) a reminder of the precedent, supporting the “nothing new in it” comment from a pro MP, and the statistics of some energy companies • mentioning the profit rise for the two whose profits went up, and failing to mention the profit fall for the third one. Also conspicuous by its absence was Drax whose profits halved almost entirely as a result of higher carbon levies.
    PRO MPs call for energy windfall tax Prime Minister Gordon Brown is facing mounting pressure from Labour MPs for a one-off windfall tax on energy firms which have recorded huge profits. More than 80, some of them ministerial aides, say the money should go towards helping poor families pay energy bills. Meanwhile, council leaders are calling for an annual levy to fund a home insulation programme. Seventy five Labour MPs have publicly signed the Compass petition but the left-leaning think tank says there are more than 80 – as some chose to remain anonymous. Among signatories are Stephen Pound, aide to welfare minister Stephen Timms, and Rob Marris, aide to Northern Ireland Secretary Shaun Woodward, who suggested to the Times that he would consider quitting if there was no change in policy.Labour MP Clive Betts told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme there was “overwhelming” support for a one-off tax among his parliamentary colleagues and the public. He said companies were looking at more than 30% increases in their profits, adding: “They are simply going to make much more money for doing absolutely nothing.” The LGA, which represents councils in England and Wales, has written to the government asking for a yearly levy to fund an insulation scheme, which they say would be more effective than a one-off payment. The leaders of Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and independent groups at the LGA have written to six cabinet ministers to make their case. Labour MP Lindsay Hoyle has also started a Commons motion calling for a windfall levy on energy companies to be used to boost the winter fuel payment for pensioners. It was signed by 38 MPs, before they left for summer recess. He told the BBC a windfall tax would be a way to curb “immoral” profits and there was “nothing new in it” as it had been used by Labour and previous Conservative governments to control profits.


  22. Lee Moore says:

    ANTIEnergy firms warned a profits “raid” could put off investors. Legalised raid’ But David Porter, chief executive of the Association of Electricity Producers, said a windfall tax on firms’ profits could break the trust between government and industry and mean more investors head abroad. He said firms had to invest £100bn in new power stations over the next 11 years adding: “A legalised raid on the company’s bank accounts – that would be very unhelpful because it would scare off investors and also could make the cost of investment much higher and, in the end, that would end up on the customers’ bills.” Ruth Lea, an economics adviser to the Arbuthnot Banking Group, said the firms already paid a large amount of tax on their profits and had to pay a dividend to their shareholders. “To have these arbitrary retrospective taxation moves is a mistake and it will put off investors,” she added.

    “NEUTRAL”The government says it is looking at a range of options. ‘Not ministers’ The prime minister’s spokesman said: “The position on tax is a matter for the chancellor and the Treasury. The Treasury receives a whole range of representations and of course will consider such representations in the normal way.” But the prime minister’s spokesman said: “What matters is the view of Treasury ministers. They are not ministers.” While a windfall tax has not been ruled out, it is understood the prime minister is looking at an alternative levy on carbon emissions. When Labour came to power in 1997 it imposed a windfall tax on utility companies – privatised under the Conservatives – to fund the welfare-to-work New Deal programme. But that tax had been announced in the party’s manifesto. The “big three” energy firms – Shell, BP and British Gas – have recently posted substantial profits. Shell made £4bn in the second quarter of this year, up 4.6% from 2007, while BP made £3.4bn, a rise of 6%. Centrica, which owns British Gas, made £992m in the first half of this year, while raising prices for customers by 35%.


  23. Umbongo says:


    Right on the button: the oil companies certainly make most of their profits upstream (extraction etc) and relatively little at the retail distribution end. For Centrica etc I suspect that all they do is maintain their gross margin on cost of gas etc dependent on the market price of their raw material. What wasn’t made clear on Today this morning (the energy companies’ representative was not near assertive enough) is that after imposition of a windfall tax, the energy majors still tax-resident in the UK will join those multinational companies seriously considering (or actually) leaving the UK.

    For Humphrys it’s win-win: the “greedy” energy companies get fleeced (“fleecing the consumer” is his description for the behaviour of energy companies in having the gall to raise prices) and his friends in Labour get the applause. Of course, his pension does not rely on business making profits so its win-win-win for the Today team.


  24. redpepper says:

    I think a better candidate for a windfall tax are the banks. They do nothing more than process money, taking a huge cut for themselves on the way,
    slightly less demanding than drilling a hole in the North Sea and then hoping there might be oil at the bottom.


  25. Andrew Cramb says:

    And , of course, the companies will just put up their prices to pay the extra tax, thereby hitting the poorest in society the hardest.


  26. will Jones says:

    The prophet Obama (pbuh) has promised to apply a windfalls profit tax on the oil companies and use that cash to send $1,000 to every American.

    I’ve sent a formal request to his campaign asking that my take be sent to his brother in Kenya who has been getting by on $12 per annum and who is still loyal enough to tell his neighbors that they are not related because he doesn’t want neighbors to know that his own brother would allow him to live in this fashion.

    You can’t make this stuff up.

    Many of us have relatives who we can’t help but how many of them would suddenly feel rich if we tossed them a tenner?


  27. ady says:

    Public energy companies should all be nationalised.

    Like with water, it’s not like people can really choose.


  28. GCooper says:

    The trouble with people who make statements like that is, invariably, they are not old enough to remember what it was like when industries were nationalised.

    And that that is particularly true of the vapid class warriors at the BBC.


  29. Peter says:

    “Public energy companies should all be nationalised.”

    What has been forgotten about the utilities and the railways, is that they were not nationalised at the outset.The Labour government nationalised vast tranches of British industry after WWII.
    Then indirectly handed the running of them to the unions.


  30. Arthur Dent says:

    Why do none of the well paid numpties on the BBC ask where profits actually go? The assumption of these arts graduate financial illiterates seems to be that profits are used to pay chief executive salaries.

    Such payments are, of course, operating costs. The profits are split three ways ca. one third goes in taxation (straight to Gordon), a further third goes to the investors as dividends. Most of these dividends actually provide pensions. The last third is invested back into the business, in the current state of our power infrastructure this is vitally important if the lights are not to go out in 10 years time.


  31. GCooper says:

    Arthur Dent writes: “The profits are split three ways… ”

    Indeed, while when industries are nationalised, every penny is sucked into the Treasury’s coffers, usually to be squandered on pointless, politically driven schemes, administered by grossly inefficient public employees. Little, if anything, is ever invested for the future – as anyone who remembers British Rail and GPO Telephones will recall only too well.


  32. ady says:

    I woz about when they were nationalised industries.

    The pensions these public utilities provided for ordinary people have been amazing.
    Millions of retired people are living and spending from those old BT and various public industry pension pots.

    But they couldn’t go wrong, since these industries are really monopolies.
    They are still monopolies today, but now private cartels share the booty.


  33. cameron says:

    whats do bad about raiding these profiteering pirates?
    Its not bias here -its a good idea!

    some people like me are paying fortunes for gas and leccy and these companies are making billions through charging us through the nose and the arse i suspect.

    re-nationalise – fuck the profits,help victims of fuel povery like about 20 million other people.

    these fuckers have no right to profit on fuel of any sort.


  34. GCooper says:

    Feel the same way about food, cameron?

    I mean that’s at least as great a need as energy, isn’t it?

    Roll-on the collective farms.


  35. Peter says:

    Power companies will pass windfall tax straight on to consumers.
    Utterly naive to think that Gordon Brown will pass any taxes on to the consumers.Brown has blown all previous windfall taxes and has borrowed up to his eyeballs.Another £2 billion to be flushed down Northern Rock.
    Another point,will Brown’s masters in Brussels let him do it?


  36. cameron says:

    yes,i feel the food prices and rampent profiteering are extortiante – are you happy with tesco charging you £1.60 for a loaf and posting a billion pounds in profit?

    Its so nice knowing these supermartkets are robbing us isnt it?

    why doesnt anyone stand up for nationalised food and fuel production?
    If so -nice……yes,nationalise all

    if not – please tell me a capitalist way that gives me cheaper food and fuel?


    uhm…where is it?

    “every little helps”


  37. GCooper says:

    It is truly terrifying that such a degree of economic illiteracy can still exist in this day and age.

    Still, I suppose that’s yet another thing we have to thank socialist governments and their propaganda media services for – by keeping people ignorant, they ensure they stay in power.


  38. JohnA says:

    A lot of the time nationalised industries were screwing the consumer as monololies – and still losing money because they wer endemicaly inefficient, overmanned. (Just like the BBC).

    Which meant capital write-offs every few years – which meant that debt owing to the taxpayer was simply expunged – two lines in a bill, no real debate.


  39. who gives a fuck says:

    born 10/03/60 nationalised companies Ady FUCK U


  40. Jeff Todd says:

    “these fuckers have no right to profit on fuel of any sort.
    cameron | 27.08.08 – 12:11 am | # ”

    I gather you mean the Government fuckers imposing VAT, Fuel Duty and their “Emissions Trading Scheme”?


    Do you you mean the fuel suppliers who supply a product giving the Government fuckers the oppportunity to impose VAT, Fuel Duty and their “Emissions Trading Scheme”?

    Remember the power companies still pay higer taxes on higher profits – just like you pay higher taxes on higher wages – so they are paying more tax already.

    A windfall tax is purely political – Government “getting tough” – but after 11 years of these muppets anyone can see who the real fuckers are.


  41. Niallster says:

    Cameron gives himself away with the word (!) ‘leccy’.

    A scouser. Guarantted if he has a job its some governmnet non-job.

    Of course he wants nationalisation. He knows no better.


  42. Jack Bauer says:

    Memo to Management:

    Please remove “Camoron” from posting on these Comments.

    Though he is an excellent advertisment for 50 years of the communist Teachers Unions ruining the British education system with their half-baked Marrxism, I do find his foul-mouthed ignorance a tad tedious here.


  43. ady says:

    I can shop about and get a loaf for 50p, a can of beans for 22p.

    The utilities have got you by the nuts, which was why they were nationalised to start with.

    Where utilities are concerned, there is no compeition.


  44. cameron says:

    Superb – attack capitalism – get called a scouser – look at my name you twit![is your Geography any better than my posts?]

    nope not a “scouser” – those sort of observations about regionalised language,and phraseology,are not far from a form of racism are they?

    And Government “non job?” – no i work for a private company which posted very fat profits this year.
    Oh,and i live in middle england’s deepest sussex – chaps.

    And i do think that some on here should perhaps look where rampant capitalist policies leads – look at the USA – i think the French,German and Spanish social models seem to look a lot “nicer” than ours at he moment. Walmart or Las Rhamblas? I know where i would rather do a spot of shopping.

    No,im not happy that Tesco is overcharging hard working [working class] people for basic foodstuffs.

    Or that the utility firms are ripping me off – they are – BP for instance -is there something wrong with you chaps here or perhaps ive never earned 100k a year? That be it then eh?

    I find a lot of comments here very uncaring – you all seem to be masturbating at the altar of the greedy thatcher years,with your stockings on and your orange in your mouth.

    A bunch of public school educated toffs? Class war? “leccy?”

    Taxation of greedy utility companies isnt a bad thing -if they threaten to pass the costs on [to protect shareholders £££££] then re-nationalise them and make the primary concern to provide the cheapest fuel possible to the most people without f*******g shareholders!

    Lastly -my grammatical errors -im not the best at spelling and do rant a bit -apologies.


  45. Sarah Jane says:

    Interestingly, Business Editor Jeremy Hillman has written something for the College of Journalism’s internal site on this today called ‘Windfall tax – another side to the story’.

    Here are the key points (I’ve edited heavily, but you will get the idea):
    * it’s retrospective and thus unfair.
    * A significant proportion of energy industry profits are planned to be spent on new investment and infrastructure.
    * The Government automatically gets more revenue through the existing tax regime when profits increase
    * Many believe there are better ways to help fund the fuel poor.
    * There is the complicated ‘domicile’ issue whereby the UK Government can only charge tax on profits made in the UK.
    * To charge a windfall tax indicates the Government has decided there are abnormal profits being made in the industry. That would mean the regulation isn’t working.

    So a reasonable checklist to what might be missing from a partial report.

    (Obviously some of you have clocked a few of these already.)


  46. GCooper says:

    Very interesting, Sarah Jane.

    But are any of your colleagues taking notice? Most of them seem, like one or two commenters here, stuck somewhere around 1947.

    It must be that BBC Tardis at work.


  47. Lee Moore says:

    There is a BBC comment piece that is a bit more balanced, and does give the anti case a bit more space than in the news article.


  48. moonbat nibbler says:

    HM Treasury aren’t keen on this measure and quite rightly too.

    Charge BP millions and you risk losing £3bn per annum if they decide to change domicile to Ireland or the Netherlands. It only requires one energy company (BG, Centrica, National Grid, Scottish & Southern…) to domicile abroad and the decision will look beyond foolhardy, utterly incompetent, loss-making stupidity.

    You’d have to be utterly mad or a selfish Labour MP trying to save your “traditionally safe” seat to think the risk is worth the reward here.

    Its morally abhorrent too. A “windfall tax” is yet another tax on pensioners in the private sector (who overwhelmingly have contribution based pensions) and another subsidy for the public sector worker (who is likely to have a gold-plated defined benefit pension).


  49. Expat in New York says:

    Another argument that the BBC has somehow missed is made by Tim Worstall here:'s-stupidity-and-then-there's-idiocy-200808021809/

    Economically, windfall taxes will reduce industry investment – which will decrease supply. Giving the money to people to spend on fuel will increase demand.

    Decreased supply and increased demand will lead to – guess what – higher prices! Exactly the opposite of what is intended. If that is indeed the intention and this is not just an electoral bribe; another view which is not being explored in any detail by the BBC.


  50. Cockney says:

    Whilst I still disagree that there’s ‘bias’ in the article, what’s lacking is any analysis.

    Has anyone actually grilled the ‘lobbying’ labour MPs on their comeback to the counter-arguments set out above? Has anyone analysed what happened to investment patterns after the last windfall tax? Has anyone looked at what proportion of shareholders are institutional – i.e. pension funds and the likes? Has anyone modelled energy prices to the consumer against cost of production to see if they’re taking the piss or not? doesn’t look like it…