‘Policy made up on the hoof!’ Rishi Sunak facing backlash from Tory MPs over windfall tax

Rishi Sunak says he ‘stands ready’ against inflation

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The Chancellor is set to have meetings with backbench Conservative MPs already angry over his National Insurance rise in April to help pay for social care and a backlog in NHS operations. But he is now also facing fury over his revelation last week that he is considering a windfall tax on energy companies if they fail to invest in the UK. The apparent U-turn has already produced a clash with Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng who has made it clear he does not believe the cash grab is necessary.

But Tory MPs are now queueing up to berate Mr Sunak over his threat of “nothing is off the table.”

The Scottish Conservatives are said to be furious because they had publicly supported the original UK Government line to oppose any new levy which had been pushed by Labour.

One Scottish Tory MP told Express.co.uk: “The problem is we had been on all the television shows and in the press condemning the proposal.

“In Scotland we had aligned ourselves with the oil and gas companies strategically and warned that it would harm the economy.

“Now we have been left high and dry by the Government and there seems to be no reason to it.”

Another senior Conservative MP despaired at “the lack of direction” from Boris Johnson’s Government on a range of issues.

The former cabinet minister said: “There is no philosophy, there is no direction, you can’t predict what this Government will do from one day to the next.

“There seems to be no rhyme nor reason to policy. It is just made up on the hoof.

“You can’t say no to a windfall tax one day and then yes or maybe the next.

“At least when David Cameron was Prime Minister for all his faults you knew what he would say on 99 percent of the issues. Not with this lot.”

Another MP warned that a tax grab would prevent investment from happening.

The MP added: “One of the worst things we did was to set a price cap during the Cameron era. 

“That prevented the energy companies from properly investing and has ultimately kept prices higher.

“A windfall tax would be doubling down on this nonsense”

The issue has also harmed Mr Sunak’s dwindling chances of becoming the next Conservative leader and Prime Minister.

One former minister pointed out that he was at his most popular during furlough when “he was giving money away.”

“Since then he has had to make the difficult decisions. It’s easy to give money away especially when it’s not your own, a bit harder when you have to pay the bill.”

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Mr Sunak had already been hit with a covid fine in the Downing Street Partygate scandal and questions had been raised about his wife’s tax status which allowed her to legally avoid paying millions to the Exchequer.

Asked last week about an energy company windfall tax, Mr Sunak last week said in a radio interview that he was “pragmatic about it”.

“These companies are making a significant amount of profit at the moment because of these very elevated prices,” he said. 

“What I want to see is significant investment back in the UK economy to support jobs, to support energy security, and I want to see that soon. If that doesn’t happen then no options are off the table.”

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