Labour announces tax on oil and gas companies to create a Just Transition Fund for a green economy
At the launch of Labour’s manifesto, Jeremy Corbyn announced a radical plan to tax oil and gas companies to fund the Green Industrial Revolution.
The Labour leader said “it isn’t fair to heap the cost of the climate emergency onto the nurse, the builder or the energy worker” so under Labour “the big oil and gas corporations that profit from heating up our planet will shoulder the burden and pay their fair share”.
The next Labour government will create a Just Transition Fund, paid for by a new windfall tax on these corporations. The Fund will, in particular, provide an expected £11 billion support package for nearly 37,000 oil and gas workers, the 126,000 people in jobs dependent on the sector and their communities to make the transition to a clean economy.
North Sea oil and gas production has been hugely profitable for UK continental shelf oil and gas companies which, between 1997 and 2018, made a net operating surplus of £273 billion.
But North Sea production peaked in 1999 and has been declining ever since, leaving oil and gas workers and their communities vulnerable. Action is needed now to manage the transition and adapt the skills and experience of these workers to develop green technologies.
Jeremy Corbyn said these workers “powered this country for decades” and will be helped through transition and guaranteed retraining and a new, unionised job on equivalent terms and conditions.
The Fund will also pay for a major programme of investment and retraining across the country, helping to drive a Green Industrial Revolution that will decarbonise our economy and make Britain a world-leader in the green industries of the future.
It is only right that the big oil and gas corporations should pay for the necessary transition from North Sea oil and gas production, rather than enjoying windfall profits that do not reflect the true cost of their activities.
The size and precise scheme of the tax to pay for the Fund will be determined after consultation and a comprehensive assessment of what is necessary. The tax will have no effect on prices for consumers at the pump as oil prices are determined by a global market.
Speaking at Labour’s manifesto launch, Jeremy Corbyn said:
“We can no longer deny the climate emergency, we can see it all around us, as the recent floods in Yorkshire and the East Midlands have shown. We have no time to waste. The crisis demands swift action, but it isn’t right to load the costs of the climate emergency onto the nurse, the builder or the energy worker.
“So a Labour government will ensure the big oil and gas corporations that profit from heating up our planet will shoulder and pay their fair share of the burden with a just transition tax.
“North Sea oil and gas workers have powered this country for decades, often working under dangerous conditions. We won’t hang them out to dry. This fund will safeguard a future for their skills and communities with new careers and secure, well-paid jobs.”