Margaret Greenwood MP has called on the government to bring in a windfall tax on oil and gas companies to help tackle the growing cost of living crisis during a debate in the House of Commons on the Queen’s Speech.
The Queen’s Speech usually takes place once a year and it sets out the government’s legislative programme for the year ahead, including which laws they plan to introduce. It was delivered by Prince Charles on 10 May and MPs spent six days debating it.
In her contribution to the debate, Margaret Greenwood questioned why the government has not come forward with a windfall tax on oil and gas companies which are making near-record profits. Labour forced a vote on the issue, but were defeated by the government.
However, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has acknowledged that energy companies are making “extraordinary profits” and that the government wants to see them “investing those profits back into British jobs, growth and energy security.” The Chancellor has said “if that does not happen soon and at significant scale, no option is off the table.”
Margaret Greenwood also used her speech to raise the issue of employment rights and called for legislation to ban ‘fire and rehire’ where employers can sack staff and rehire them on contracts with lesser pay and conditions. The government had previously promised that this Queen’s Speech would include an Employment Bill, but one hasn’t materialised.
Margaret Greenwood MP also:
- expressed regret that the government didn’t announce any plans to bring forward legislation to ban fracking and Underground Coal Gasification (UCG)
- said that the government has “fallen short” by not providing for forthcoming legislation to ban conversion therapy to apply to trans people
- highlighted that the National Literacy Trust estimates that there are more than 7 million adults in England with very poor literacy skills, and she urged the government to take action to address this
- argued that, if the government were serious about levelling up, they would fund local councils properly
Speaking afterwards, Margaret Greenwood MP said, “It is extremely disappointing that the government voted against Labour’s proposal for a windfall tax on oil and gas companies.
“Such a measure would reduce bills and provide much-needed support for people.
“The government should also never have cut Universal Credit by £20 a week and taken away support from the people who need it most.
“The National Institute of Economic and Social Research has said that more than a quarter of a million households will slide into destitution next year, taking the total number in extreme poverty to around 1.2 million unless the government act to help the poorest families. This is a frightening prospect and should not be allowed to happen.
“As we face climate change it was incredibly disappointing that the government failed to rule out fracking and UCG. These are risky technologies and I know from the correspondence that I receive that people in Wirral West want to see them banned.
“I have also had constituents contact me with their concerns about conversion therapy. The British Medical Association has rightly said that it is an unethical and damaging practice that preys on victims of homophobia, transphobia, discrimination, and bullying, so it is extremely disappointing that the government’s ban on conversion therapy will not extend to trans people.
“There is a crisis too in adult literacy, with more than seven million adults in England with very poor literacy skills, yet there was no announcement from government of any strategy to address this.
“Overall, the government’s proposed programme of legislation for the year ahead is very disappointing and fails to address many of the issues that people are facing.”
Image: KWON JUNHO