Labour accuses government of leaving £17bn loophole in windfall tax – follow live

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Related: Chancellor increases energy windfall tax to raise extra £14bn

Rishi Sunak is likely to face his first defeat in the House of Commons as prime minister, after several Conservative MPs signed Labour’s amendment to a bill demanding chancellor Jeremy Hunt spell out the full cost of windfall tax allowances for fossil fuel firms.

This comes as Labour accused the government of “botching” its windfall tax on North Sea oil and gas companies by leaving holes that, according to party estimates, are likely to cost £17bn to the exchequer.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt had announced the windfall tax on oil and gas giants will increase from 25 per cent to 35 per cent and extend the tax to 2028, having faced pressure to increase the Energy Profits Levy, as it is known.

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said that the sums which could be raised by ditching the allowance – as well as backdating the windfall tax to the start of 2022 and matching Norway’s 78 per cent levy on its North Sea firms – was the equivalent of three years’ turnover for the UK wind power industry and could pay for the insulation of 6 million homes.


Army urged to prop up NHS as winter of discontent looms

Saffron Cordery, the interim chief executive of NHS Providers, has indicated that the army will be “incredibly welcome” to help support the NHS this winter after The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) scheduled its own walkouts on 15 and 20 December.

Asked if soldiers could be called in to help, she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “This is something that has been raised over the past couple of days and I think that it will be incredibly welcome for the army to play a role.

“But I think it is probably clear that that will be a role at the margins, for example, the army did help out during the pandemic but it was on issues such as helping with the vaccination drive.

“I think what we have got to remember is we will really welcome their support but that won’t play a central role in keeping the ambulance service going.”

Emily Atkinson30 November 2022 10:37


Royal Mail and education workers stage fresh walkouts

Postal workers, university lecturers and sixth-form college staff have set in motion a fresh wave of strikes today as the year of industrial unrest continues to snowball into the winter months.

Picket lines were mounted outside universities, colleges and Royal Mail centres across the country on Wednesday amid warnings of further planned walkouts in the run-up to Christmas.

National Education Union (NEU) teacher members who work in 77 sixth-form colleges in England are striking in a dispute over pay after suffering a real-terms pay cut of an estimated 20 per cent since 2010, it said.

Meanwhile, a respresentative for the Communication Workers Union (CWU) has said Royal Mail workers were taking a stand to protect “this great public” institution against being turned into “another gig economy service.”

Emily Atkinson30 November 2022 10:32


Grant Shapps attacked over ‘nonsense’ claim wind turbines too big to build onshore

Environmental groups condemned business secretary Grant Shapps for claiming wind turbines are “so big” they cannot be built on land.

Mr Shapps defended Rishi Sunak’s de facto ban on new onshore wind development – claiming turbines are “so large they can’t even be constructed onshore”.

The minister said: “They are so big, the turbines wouldn’t be able to be carried by roads. They have to be put offshore. These single turbines are seven football pitches in scope as they turn. They’re not buildable onshore.”

Our political correspondent Adam Forrest reports:

Emily Atkinson30 November 2022 09:46


John Rentoul: Talk of a ‘white list’ takes us back to the 90s – and it didn’t work then either

We have been here before, so we know it doesn’t work, writes John Rentoul. The very term “white list” is unfortunate in the context of immigration and asylum. But that wasn’t the only problem with the policy pursued by Tony Blair’s government.

Emily Atkinson30 November 2022 09:28


Senior Tory MP warns of potential invasion of Taiwan by China

The chair of the Commons Defence Committee has said it is important to prepare for a potential invasion of Taiwan by a “more aggressive, more assertive” China.

Tobias Ellwood, who is part of a delegation of MPs visiting Taiwan, said the West cannot afford to lose “another democratic partner” in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

MPs from the Foreign Affairs Committee are visiting Taiwan, which China claims as its territory, until Saturday and meeting dignitaries amid strained UK relations with Beijing.

“President Xi (Jinping) has made it clear that it (China) will use forces necessary to take this island and I think there are lessons to be learned from Ukraine,” Mr Ellwood told Sky News from Taipei.

“China is now getting more aggressive, more assertive, and if President Xi fulfils his promise, the impact would be huge.”

It would give China momentum to further pursue its authority authoritarian agenda, he said.

“How would the west look after that – losing another democratic partner? So it’s so important to understand what is going on here and prepare for what might be coming over the hill.”

Emily Atkinson30 November 2022 09:08


Watch: Ed Miliband calls Tory MPs ‘dinosaurs’ over onshore wind farm stance

Ed Miliband calls Tory MPs ‘dinosaurs’ over onshore wind farm stance

Emily Atkinson30 November 2022 08:50


Government condemned for ‘poor and misleading’ graph exaggerating nurses’ pay rises

The UK Statistics Authority criticised a graph used by health secretary Steve Barclay’s department which showed “how nurses’ pay has gone up”.

It comes as NHS ambulance workers across England joined nurses in agreeing to strike before Christmas. Unison members voted in favour of strikes over pay and staffing levels.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said up to 100,000 nurses will stay off work on 15 and 20 December unless the government starts to engages with pay demands in detail.

Our political correspondent Adam Forrest reports:

Emily Atkinson30 November 2022 08:35


Labour stands shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine, says shadow minister

Labour’s Stephen Kinnock called the Ukraine-Russia conflict a “war between democracy and dictatorship” as he backed first lady Olena Zelenska’s call for the formation of a special tribunal to punish Russian war crimes.

“Labour stands shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine,” the shadow minister for immigration told Sky News this morning.

Emily Atkinson30 November 2022 08:21


Ellwood calls on UK to ‘honour’ Ukraine’s request for a special tribunal

The chair of the Defence Select Committe has backed calls from Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska for the formation of a special tribunal to punish Russian war crimes.

Tobias Ellwood MP told Sky News this morning that he believed the UK should “absolutely honour” Ukraine’s request.

“It’s something Britain has done in the past, in places like Rwanda and Bosnia,” he said.

Insisting the UK must again instate such a tribunal, Mr Ellwood said the move would not just be about “beating Russia on the battlefield, it’s making sure that any individual soldiers that perform these absolutely horrendous atrocities are held to account.

“We are a trusted and fair nation,” he told the broadcaster, saying a tribunal on the war in Ukraine “is another example of where Britain can lead from the front again.”

Emily Atkinson30 November 2022 08:10


Tobias Ellwood praises Sunak’s rhetoric on China

Tobias Ellwood, who chairs the the Defence Select Committee, has praised Rishi Sunak for vowing to “evolve” the UK’s stance towards the China.

“I really welcome this speech. It was the first foreign policy statement on China I think for many, many years,” the Tory MP told Sky News.

“The so-called goldern era of relations with China is now over. This idea that if we simply do more trade with China, they’re going to open up to political reform – that clearly isn’t going to happen.

“China under president Xi is pursuing a competing vision with the West. He’s taking advantage of the timid West that’s unwilling, to date, to call China out,” he said.

“China’s expanding authoritarian influence is enormous across the world.

“It needs us to fuel its own economy,” he added, highlighting the importance of calling out China as it moves closer to “looking like a police state out” and standing “up for our rights and values, and the international rule of law.”

Emily Atkinson30 November 2022 07:50

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