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Former prime minister calls for ‘windfall tax’ for energy companies

John Major said the profits being made by gas and electricity suppliers are unacceptable and unjustified

The former prime minister has called for a windfall tax on energy suppliers

Former Conservative Prime Minister Sir John Major said there should be a one-off tax on the profits of energy companies to help those struggling to pay their bills.

Speaking on recent energy price rises, Major said: “I do not see how it can be in any way acceptable that with energy prices rising broadly 4%, in terms of costs, that the price for the consumer should rise by 9 to 10%.”

A spokesperson for the government said Major’s suggestion was “interesting” but said there were no plans to implement such a tax at present.

‘Governments should exist to protect people, not institutions’

During a speech given yesterday at a press gallery lunch, Major called for the government to show compassion towards those facing a choice between food and heating this winter.

Major said: “We’ll probably have a very cold winter, and it is not acceptable to me, and ought not to be acceptable to anyone that many people are going to have to choose between keeping warm and eating.

“The private sector is something the Conservative party supports, but when the private sector goes wrong, or behaves badly, I think it’s entirely right to make changes and put it right.”

Miliband’s price freeze is ‘unworkable’

The remarks were well received by Labour leader Ed Miliband, who said Major was championing Labour’s calls for a fairer energy market.

However, Major offered no support for Miliband’s proposal to freeze energy prices for 20 months and called the idea unworkable. “I think his heart was in the right place but his head had gone walkabout,” he said.

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