Energy companies and banks see jump in profits while families and small businesses struggle, figures show

Banks and energy companies have continued to post healthy profits while small businesses and families continue to shoulder the burden of the cost of living crisis, new figures have shown.

Yesterday British Gas revealed that it had made a record £1 billion in the first six months of the year, with its parent company Centrica making £2.1 billion, up 55 per cent on the previous year.

Oil giant Shell said that it had made the equivalent of £3.9 billion in the three months to the end of June.

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Meanwhile North Yorkshire’s Drax saw profits jump to £392 million for the first half of the year while Government negotiations continue over the future of its flagship carbon capture project which was rejected by ministers earlier this year.

Ed Miliband, Labour's Shadow Climate and Net Zero Secretary.Ed Miliband, Labour's Shadow Climate and Net Zero Secretary.
Ed Miliband, Labour's Shadow Climate and Net Zero Secretary.

It comes as Government figures showed that UK renewables generated a record annual amount of electricity last year.

Yesterday’s financial results prompted further calls from opposition and trade unions for more to be done to rein in the profits of oil and gas companies in order to bring down the bills of families and businesses.

“These figures demonstrate the continuing scandal of the Tory failure to act on the windfalls of war being pocketed by oil and gas companies,” said Ed Miliband, Labour’s shadow climate secretary.

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The Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said: “It beggars belief that after all these months this Conservative Government is still allowing energy firms to rake in extraordinary profits while millions of families struggle.”

Figures released today by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) show that Britain has lost 6,000 storefronts in five years following the effects of Covid, business rates and the cost of living crisis.

Separate data by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said that retail sales fell at the fastest pace since April last year with the downturn expected to gather pace.

Both called for an overhaul of “crippling” business rates in order to soften the cost pressures.

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Barclays bank also reported a jump in its half year profits as the sector come under further pressure to offer more generous saving and mortgage rates to families struggling with the cost of living crisis.

Meanwhile Lloyds Banking Group reported a surge in its six month profits, with its mortgage customers seeing monthly payments go up by £360 on average over the rest of the year.

The British banking group, which owns Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland, reported a statutory pre-tax profit of £3.9 billion, a 23 per cent leap from the £3.1 billion reported the same time last year and was driven up by a boost in the bank’s income from higher borrowing costs.

Several providers have been offering money to switch current accounts and have also improved their savings rates as the Bank of England base rate has increased.

This has seen the number of current account switches being made surge by 76 per cent between April and June compared with a year earlier, according to a switching service.