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Former P.M. John Major: Tax energy company windfall profits

Oct. 23, 2013 at 2:01 AM

LONDON, Oct. 23 (UPI) -- Former Prime Minister John Major said Tuesday U.K. energy companies are enjoying windfall profits while the poor face a choice between food and fuel.

Major urged Prime Minister David Cameron to impose a one-time excess profits tax, the Daily Mirror reported. Speaking at a lunch in London, Major said the largest energy customers have raised prices by about 10 percent while their own costs have only risen 4 percent.

"I predict this winter, Sod's Law being what it is, we will probably have a very cold winter," he said. "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, that is not acceptable."

Major succeeded Margaret Thatcher as prime minister in 1990 and led his party through one winning general election. In 1997, Labor won a resounding victory. Major resigned from Parliament in 2001, retiring from active politics.

In his speech, Major also suggested the Conservatives under Cameron have turned their backs on low-income Britons.

"If we Tories navel-gaze and only pander to our comfort zone we'll never win elections," he said. "All core vote delivers is the wooden spoon."

A Cameron spokesman called Major's suggestion on the energy tax an "interesting contribution" but said there are no plans to adopt it.

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