Wednesday, 6 Jul 2022

BBC QT: ‘Blind man on a galloping horse’ Alliance leader blasts timing of windfall tax

Steve Barclay avoids answering questions about windfall tax

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Referring to the recent publication of the long awaited Sue Gray report Ms Long said that a “blind man on a galloping horse would see this for what it is”. Ms Long, leader of Northern Ireland’s largest non sectarian party, said she tried not to be “cynical”

However the Northern Ireland Justice Minister admitted that the measures were “too little too late” and were “relatively light touch”.

She said: “Well I try hard not to be cynical about these things, but I think a blind man on a galloping horse would see this for what it is.

“Essentially what we have here is the Government wanting to deflect from a bad news day yesterday, coming forward with a package of measures today that will hopefully give them some good publicity.

“To be fair I actually welcome the packages of measures that have been brought forward.”

However she still had some words of criticism for the Government’s new measures to tackle the cost of living crisis.

She continued: “I think it’s too little too late in some instances, I don’t think it goes far enough.

“I think the reason I say that is I think if you compare for example what has been done today in terms of profits that have been made, it is a relatively light touch windfall tax in comparison to some of the extortionate profits that have been made during this period.

“It isn’t only the energy companies that have benefited from that windfall, the Treasury has benefited too from all the VAT on the rising cost.

“The Treasury has benefited from the pain of the people, so it’s right that it should be redistributed and I’m glad it has happened.

“But I think for Robert [Buckland] to try and convince us here this evening that it had absolutely nothing to do with the Sue Gray report and the outcome of it yesterday is, I think, really stretching credulity to its limits.”

On Thursday Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that the Government had made a u-turn on a windfall tax on the profits of oil and tax firms.

Mr Sunak said that the new tax previously proposed by opposition parties would raise £5 billion over the next year. 

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Money raised would help pay for a £15 billion package from the Government including a £650 one-off payment for eight million low income households.

There will also be a change to the loan scheme for energy bills which will be increased from £200 to £400 without the need to pay it back.

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