The prime minister told Sky News on Friday he’d spoken to both companies this week after they reported bumper profits. He pushed back against calls from consumer groups and the main opposition Labour Party to slap a windfall tax on the firms, reiterating his message that it would deter investment.
“I had the head of Shell in yesterday, and the head of BP, and I’ve talked to them both,” Johnson said. “Our message to them is very, very clear. It’s ‘guys, this is a moment when we need you as a country to invest massively in clean, green renewables, in stuff that is going to make a difference to people’s energy prices’.”
Johnson was speaking after the Tories lost dozens of seats in local elections on Thursday, with the cost of living crisis touted as a major concern for voters. Inflation is already at a three-decade high, driven by soaring energy prices, and the Bank of England on Thursday projected it will rise still further. That’s contributing to the biggest fall in living standards since the 1950s.
Johnson said fixing the country’s energy supply issues is key to tackling spiking inflation. “You don’t do that simply by clobbering the companies that we need to make investments in our domestic energy security,” he said.