Thursday evening UK news briefing: Rishi Sunak 'throwing meat to socialists'

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·7-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Your evening briefing from The Telegraph
Your evening briefing from The Telegraph

Evening briefing: Today's essential headlines

Surging migration | More than one million foreign nationals have been allowed to live in the UK for the first time in modern history as the Government was accused of breaking its Brexit promises. The data also showed that three-quarters of the initial asylum applications are being granted, the highest rate for 30 years, despite the Government's claims to be cracking down on illegal arrivals and bogus claims.

The big story: Rishi Sunak announces windfall tax

Tory MPs have warned Rishi Sunak that his windfall tax on oil and gas giants could stifle economic growth as the Chancellor was accused of "throwing red meat to socialists".

Mr Sunak announced he is imposing a tax on the excess profits of energy firms to fund a new Government spending spree to help struggling households cope with the cost-of-living crisis.

But the prospect of a new tax on business prompted warnings from some Tory MPs who questioned whether it is consistent with Conservative values.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has said the Chancellor's new package of support takes from the rich and gives to the poor.

Paul Johnson, director of the IFS, said the Government's support and windfall tax on oil and gas profits were "hugely redistributive".

Pensioners will receive £850 to help cover their energy bills under the new £15 billion cost-of-living-rescue package partly funded by the windfall tax.

The Chancellor has pledged to hand every family in Britain a one-off cash payment of £400 this autumn, with eight million of the most vulnerable households getting support amounting to £1,200.

He has been forced to significantly boost the total financial package from £22 billion to £37 billion - or 1.5 per cent of GDP - after a poll revealed one in five Britons are now struggling to make ends meet.

Read on for details and this piece explains how much you will get under the package.

Unintended consequences

Yet the Chancellor's plans will by no means solve the energy price crisis facing households.

The support package will offset less than a fifth of the cost increases middle-class families face this year.

The struggling Middle England has been excluded from many of the support schemes, and the state payout represents just 14pc of the total extra bills that families must endure.

Meanwhile, pension funds and British investors lost nearly £600m as share prices took a tumble in early trading ahead of the announcement of the energy bill relief package.

Shares in giant energy companies Centrica, Drax and SSE fell more than 2pc during the first hours of trading.

Ben Wright warns Mr Sunak's wrong-headed windfall tax will have unintended consequences while Andrew Lilico believes the Chancellor has taken an anti-conservative approach to inflation.

Right thing to do

Many have accused the Government of cynically announcing its rescue package the day after Sue Gray's report into the partygate scandal.

Indeed, three more Tory MPs have withdrawn their support from the Prime Minister and called on him to resign following the publication of the report - and it emerged the former acting leader of the Labour Party, Harriet Harman, is set to become the chairman of the committee that will decide if Mr Johnson intentionally misled Parliament over partygate.

Yet while today's measures may be unable to escape the gravitational pull of partygate – and also nick Labour's flagship policy of a one-off windfall tax on the energy companies – Tom Harris sets out why stealing the idea may be cynical but it is also the right thing to do.

Ben Wilkinson says it's about time Mr Sunak put money back in our pockets.

Comment and analysis

Around the world: Zelensky says Kissinger living in '38

Volodymyr Zelensky has crushed calls for Ukraine to cede some of its territory to Russia, comparing it to the appeasement of Adolf Hitler in the run-up to the Second World War. In his daily address to the nation late on Wednesday, Mr Zelensky pushed back against increasing calls for Ukraine to seek peace with the Kremlin while resigning itself to letting Russia rule the territory it has captured. It comes after Henry Kissinger, the veteran US statesman, told world leaders gathered in Davos that the West should push Ukraine into making concessions to Vladimir Putin, warning that humiliating Russia could have disastrous consequences for the long-term stability of Europe. However, Liz Truss has warned that Russian meddling in the Western Balkans risks pulling the region back into war as she called on the West to not appease Putin over his invasion.

Thursday interview

Boycott, Bird and Parkinson: Reunited at Barnsley - 60 years on

Gathering at the cricket club for the first time since they played together as youngsters, the three legendary Yorkshiremen set the world to rights

Read the full interview

Sport briefing: Controversy as child hit by racket

A young boy was left in tears during a French Open match when Romania's Irina-Camelia Begu narrowly avoided being defaulted from the tournament after hitting him with her racket. Bad behaviour and racquet abuse on the court have been contentious issues in men's tennis all season-long, but the drama today came from the women's draw. World No 63 Begu was down a break in the third set of her second-round match against Ekaterina Alexandrova when she bounced her racquet on the ground in frustration. Watch what happened next.

Editor's choice

  1. When ABBA met their ABBAtars | 'They have personalities. They are so… alive'

  2. Patrick Kielty interview | 'There were wild nights in Sue Gray's pub'

  3. Will Young | 'I want to shine a light on the private-school system and get an apology'

Business briefing: Golden era for post-Brexit UK over

As Anthony Albanese's new left-wing government takes power Down Under, Britain is bracing for a cooler relationship with Australia. It would mark a shift away from a close partnership under Scott Morrison, who has joined a long list of Prime Ministers who have failed to win a second consecutive term of office in the country. He and Boris Johnson get on famously and have routinely referred to each other as "good friends". Tim Wallace analyses how the Left's victory in Australia has ended a golden era for post-Brexit Britain. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka is teetering on the verge of total collapse amid an unprecedented crisis triggered by years of economic mismanagement. Yet read why a dozen other countries could follow the Asian nation into chaos. In another sign of troubling economic times ahead, Olaf Scholz has warned that the era of globalisation that powered the German economic miracle is "coming to an inevitable end" after Vladimir Putin’s "thunderbolt".

Tonight starts now

The Flight Attendant, series 2, review | Chicken or fish? Tea or coffee? Could you raise your window blinds for take-off please? Yes, the second series of The Flight Attendant (Sky Max) has finally landed. Although for Michael Hogan, Kaley Cuoco's dizzy blonde antics have been downgraded from first-class to standard. Read on for his review.

Three things for you

And finally... for this evening's downtime

The real deal | It is getting harder every day to distinguish Posh from Dosh, but there are still ways to find out. Shane Watson reveals eight signs you are actually posh – and not just wealthy.

If you want to receive twice-daily briefings like this by email, sign up to the Front Page newsletter here . For two-minute audio updates, try The Briefing - on podcasts, smart speakers and WhatsApp.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting