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Mark Gilbert

Conservatives Look a Lot Like Socialists These Days

The UK cost-of-living crisis has prompted the government to steal an opposition policy.

Red Rishi.

Red Rishi.

Photographer: Hollie Adams/Bloomberg

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When is a windfall tax not a windfall tax? When it’s a “temporary, targeted energy profits levy,” as UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak dubbed this week’s raid on the future profits of oil and gas companies. The Conservative government is aiming to raise 5 billion pounds ($6.3 billion) to help fund a helicopter money-drop to alleviate Britain’s cost-of-living crisis. The 15 billion-pound package, which includes energy-bill subsidies for every UK household plus one-off grants to welfare recipients and pensioners, looks like “a panicky chess move intended to protect the king but not really advance the government’s own position,” argues Therese Raphael