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« Diary dates, green debate issue | Main | Fracking up a storm »

Another disinformation frenzy

Another day, another wave of environmentalist disinformation mindlessly regurgitated by the mainstream media. This time the great green propaganda machine is looking at a report by a pair of NGOs concerning what it calls "subsidies" to oil companies.


The UK Government is providing £750m a year in tax breaks to North Sea oil and gas, despite a pledge five years ago to end fossil fuel subsidies, campaigners said.

A further £414m in public money is going into fossil fuel exploration overseas — from Siberia in Russia to Brazil, India and Nigeria — a report by the Overseas Development Institute and Oil Change International said.

So once again we have the old canard about removal of double taxation being a "subsidy", repeated without question by STV and old BH friends like the Herald's Rob Edwards, the BBC's Roger Harrabin, and of course the Guardian.

Not one of them mentions the double taxation that is charged to oil companies. Not one.



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Reader Comments (38)

So once again we have the old canard about removal of double triple taxation

There is the Ring Fenced Corporation Tax (losses can not be offset against profits), the Supplementary Charge (an additional 32% on top of the RFCT) and the Petroleum Revenue Tax (a tax on individual Oil and Gas fields).

RFCT = 30%
SC = 32%
PRT = 50% of what is left after RFCT and SC.

Nov 11, 2014 at 10:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

I demand 20 quid from you. I change my mind and now only demand 5 quid. You are now receiving a subsidy. #GreenLogic

Nov 11, 2014 at 10:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterAngusPangus

The Guardian quotes from the report [my bold]:

"This is real money which could be put into schools or hospitals. It is simply not economic to invest like this. This is the insanity of the situation. They are diverting investment from economic low-carbon alternatives such as solar, wind and hydro-power"
So a tax break for oil exploration (which will bring in future taxes if the oil flows) is considered a subsidy, whereas a direct subsidy from my taxed income for wind farms etc is considered an investment.

Nov 11, 2014 at 10:26 AM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

I thought I'd just rescue this comment from below the article before it gets disappeared like succeeding comments from the same author (diggerdigger):

"You misunderstand the world view of most Guardianistas - that profit by definition is the result of some treacherous skulduggery to keep artists/students/professional whingers (and associated non-productive members of the population) in chains, and that all private enterprise is a magic pudding of funds that can be taxed of every last cent to fund a fantasy world powered by moonbeams and pixie dust."

Nov 11, 2014 at 10:34 AM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

I posted the details of the pair of NGOs on the previous thread 'Fracking up a storm', so I will not repeat the details here.

Nov 11, 2014 at 10:35 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

The total bastardisation of the English language to somehow equate tax breaks with subsidies is perverse.

Nov 11, 2014 at 10:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterImranCan

Why is the government subsidising* WWF, FoE, Greenpeace? Couldn't this money be better spent elsewhere?

* They must be subsidising them because they have a corporation tax rate of 0% instead of 21%

Nov 11, 2014 at 10:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

"I demand 20 quid from you. I change my mind and now only demand 5 quid. You are now receiving a subsidy. #GreenLogic"

Nice one AngusPangus.

Nov 11, 2014 at 10:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

The government could get rid of this "subsidy" by removing the PRT, SC and RFCT (see above for what they are) and taxing oil and gas companies exactly the same way as any other company.

They would then be paying 21% in tax instead of 81% but because they would all paying the same lower tax rate it would not fit their definition of a subsidy.

It's a strange world whereby a government can stop a "subsidy" just by lowering the tax rate.

Nov 11, 2014 at 10:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Subsidy - taking money out of your pocket to give to a business to prop them up so they don't go t1ts up quite so quickly. Usually achieved through the use of money from taxation.

Tax break - allowing a business to keep more of its "profits" to carry out tasks and activities related to its core business. Does not involve or require the use of any tax money.

The difference really isn't that hard to understand and to be honest with you one has to display a wilful and disgraceful level of ignorance to make the two the same.


Nov 11, 2014 at 10:55 AM | Unregistered Commentermailman

The BBC and the Green Parrot (Harrabin) will not move from their highly biased position whilst the £3.7B (2013-2014) of licence money pours into it. The only way to change the BBC is to abolish the licence and then we will see how well their biased programming fares in the real world.

The total distortion of the subsidy/tax breaks discussion is simply appalling!

Nov 11, 2014 at 10:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

Charmingquark: "The BBC and the Green Parrot (Harrabin) will not move from their highly subsidised and biased position"

Is that what you meant to say?

Nov 11, 2014 at 11:00 AM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

The Green Blob includes the BBC. How many that leave go straight into environmental or socialist organisational jobs?
A question worth asking.

Nov 11, 2014 at 11:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Harry Passfield yes quite

I should have added that the BBC at one time helped some of its people with tax avoidance schemes (e.g. paying some presenters as freelance).

Not only paid for by the public but happy to avoid tax liabilities! Ah Green honesty you can just smell it!

But they are saving the planet!

Nov 11, 2014 at 11:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark


" The Green Blob includes the BBC. How many that leave go straight into environmental or socialist organisational jobs?"

The other question is how many first arrived at the BBC via the Guardian Jobs page?

BBC recruitment

" SIR – Andrew Gilligan (Comment, September 3) claims: “I don’t think the BBC’s bias was ever exactly 'Left-wing’… any bias is towards the official, the conventional and the established.”

The BBC refused to give me any figures for spending on advertising for staff recruitment, but I obtained them for 2004 under the Freedom of Information Act. In the Guardian, the BBC spent £231,944; in the Telegraph, £32,535; in the Times £6,159. "

Nov 11, 2014 at 11:51 AM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand


Material for a Josh cartoon?

Perhaps Green Parrot looking into a BBC mirror where he sees himself reflected as Roger Haw Haw!

Nov 11, 2014 at 12:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Jones

At 12:30 on the Daily Politics today, the BBC were moaning about the fact it took 2 years to get their FOI processed about Civil Service handouts for Neil Kinnock.

Yes the BBC are really good at handing over data for FOI's!!!! I think not!

Appalling what else can one say

Nov 11, 2014 at 12:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

Usual picture of (stationary) wind turbines, with the caption that these are a better investment than nasty fossil fuels...

Yeah, right...

Nov 11, 2014 at 1:10 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

BBC & MSM deem the $539mGoogle/NRG grant story not worth reporting
...that Google/NRG have applied for cos they can't afford the payment on their $1.6bn DOE backed loan on their ailing Ivanpah solar thermal proj and the $660m tax credits have not yet kicked in)

Nov 11, 2014 at 1:17 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen


Usual picture of (stationary) wind turbines, with the caption that these are a better investment than nasty fossil fuels...

People standing next to a car with the (fossil fuel) motor running, watching the stationary wind turbines and saying that to each other (without a hint of comprehension of the irony).

Nov 11, 2014 at 1:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil R

Elephant in room is that renewables are hyper expensive, cos they don't pay in the tax revenue that conventional fuels do
It would be good to show the true cost of renewables against conventional homegrown fuels are essentially like renewables free at source and both have a pollution cost.
Like if you drove 1000Km in a conventional fuel car it would cost you X-pollution costs
Like if you drove 1000Km in an electric car charged only from renewables it would cost you Y-pollution ..but then when you got home there'd be a £Z income tax bill waiting for you to pay the government services that fuel tax money used to pay

Nov 11, 2014 at 1:27 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen


They are probably the reason that the Guardian is still in business lol....

Nov 11, 2014 at 1:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Indeed, Stewgreen. The treasury knows that they generate revenue hand over fist from both oil/gas companies and again from taxing individuals.

When the BBC are honest with themselves about this matter (can't recall exactly when that last happened), they will look in their own archives and watch the TV programs they made about how North Sea Oil saved the UK from economic disaster at the end of the 1970s.

Nov 11, 2014 at 1:59 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

And right at the top of the article on the Beeb website is that Photoshopped picture of the nasty black pollution billowing from a chimney. Harrabin "BBC environment analyst": deception, fabrication, narrative.

Nov 11, 2014 at 2:08 PM | Unregistered Commentergareth

Re: Green Sand

The BBC disclosed the advertising spend for 2007, 2008 and 2009 in FOI request RF120110092. Unfortunately I can not find it at the moment.

In January of this year I thought it would be nice to have updated information so I sent this request:

In your response to Freedom of Information Request RF120110092 you provided 3 documents which you described as:
"the attached 3 documents provide a breakdown of recruitment advertising spend by the BBC for each of the 3 calendar years 2007, 2008 and 2009."
I would like to request the same information and breakdown for the years 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 (if available).

Their response (available here) was:

The BBC outsourced recruitment up to Senior Manager level to Capita in 2006 and under the scope of this agreement advertising spend is managed and paid directly by Capita and not the BBC.

The amount spent by Capita on recruitment advertising spend is therefore out of scope of this request as it is not spent by the BBC. We are aware that in 2011 we provided the information in relation to the years 2007, 2008 and 2009. The Capita contract is to be re-procured in the next 2 years and steps are already being taken to start the process. We consider this information to be exempt from disclosure under section 43(2) of the Act as disclosure would be likely to prejudice commercial interests ...

The amount spent at the Guardian was an order of magnitude greater than any other publication.
If I get the chance I'll hunt it down and post a link in unthreaded.

Nov 11, 2014 at 4:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

I like the name of the author of the response to your request, Terry: James Hacker. You couldn't make it up.

Nov 11, 2014 at 4:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid S

It would seem that the up and coming industry to be in is providing out sourced services with a view to avoiding the FOI legislation. It used to be tax avoidance.

Nov 11, 2014 at 5:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterIvor Ward

The amount spent at the Guardian was an order of magnitude greater than any other publication.
If I get the chance I'll hunt it down and post a link in unthreaded.

Nov 11, 2014 at 4:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Terry, I found it on the wayback machine and posted the link on unthreaded.

Nov 11, 2014 at 5:39 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

@TerryS your info from BBC FOI database : This works in IE, but not for me in Chrome

to see more BBC FOI's (strangely all seem to be from 2011) .. ..ah the folder below has files upto 2014
..including the famous secret climate meeting ..previously excluded from FOI cos the info was "for purposes of journalism"

Nov 11, 2014 at 8:36 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

This trait of of the climate obsessed- to revisit disproven and false claims, treating them as if they are fresh and true claims- is an interesting behavior, bordering on the pathological.
Since the falseness of the claim that the oil industry gets 'subsidies' from the tax payer is well established, it also raises questions about the ethics of those repeating the untruth.
Here is a deal: Cut all subsides and taxes from both the oil industry for a year and see how things are giong for the government's revenues and the profits of the oil industry.
Then cut all subsidies and all taxes from the so-called renewable industry and see how things are going after a year.
My bet: With oil, government revenues would be serverely reduced, causing a significant government revenue shortfall.And the oil industry would be fine without the so-called 'subsidies'.The reality is that the oil industry, between income taxes on profits and royalty payments is a *huge* source of revenue to governments that are involved withthe oil industry.
As for the renewable industry, without the direct operating and rate tariff subsidies, they would be shut down in less than a year and government revenues would not be impacted in any significant way.The so-called renewable industry is at best a tiny ssource of taxes, and when measured against the tax payer subsidized rates and tax breaks wind and solar receive, is probably a net cost.
Call the bluff of the climate loons.
They are either fibbing or ignorant.. Either way they are wrong.

Nov 11, 2014 at 10:24 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

I'm sure EM will be around to tell us we're all wrong.
It IS a subsidy....

Nov 11, 2014 at 10:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitter&Twisted

the qu'ardian gets 10x more from our as tax??

that a scandal that is !

Nov 11, 2014 at 11:50 PM | Unregistered Commenterptw

How can the BBC get away with claiming that because something is outsourced, they have no accountability for how public funds are spent? That is just bizarre.

Presumably Capita report to them on how they spend recruitment money. If not, it is utterly negligent contract management. What is going on?

Nov 11, 2014 at 11:51 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

The curious thing about the FOI request I made is that they took 4 months to refuse it. I submitted it on January 6th and on February 12th they sent this email:

I am writing to apologise that we are not currently in a position to respond to your request for information, reference number RFI20140014.

Unfortunately we are not yet able to give an exact date for you to expect the reply. However, I can assure you that we are making every effort to respond to your request as promptly as possible.
Please accept my apologies once again for the delay and any inconvenience it may cause you.

Yours Sincerely,

Then on the 2nd of April I got the refusal. This makes me think that they actually compiled the figures and then decided, for some unknown reason, to find an excuse to refuse the request.

If I hadn't had other things occupying my time I would have appealed.

Nov 12, 2014 at 12:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Driving home last night in Tasmania (almost as far as you can get on the face of the earth from Mr Harrabin) I was subjected to several minutes of this trollop.

We hear the same logic here from our Greens. We have a diesel fuel excise for road vehicles, which used to be called Road Tax, because it was applied to fund roads. It has never applied to diesel for tractors or mining equipment. We are told once a week that this is a subsidy to farmers and miners.

Nov 12, 2014 at 1:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Cruickshank

Starting to get to the bottom of the subsidy claims. It resolves from this IMF report

Tax subsidies exist if taxes for energy are below their efficient level. This has two components. First, energy should be taxed the same way as any other consumer products. If energy taxes are lower than this, there is a tax subsidy. Second, some energy products contribute to pollution and global warming — efficient taxation requires that the price of energy should reflect these adverse effects on society. In most countries, taxes on energy fall far short of this, implying the full costs of consuming energy are not reflected in its price, as it should when energy is priced right.

Fossil fuels cause global warming.......... At what level, by how much? Give me the figures that translate how much increase in global warming due to fossil fuel burning translates into how much increased taxation is required on fossil fuels to cater for any damage that the increased GAT causes.

This is an exercise in virtual thinking and has no bearing on reality whatsoever. Is it just me or are they all living in a computer game?

Nov 12, 2014 at 12:47 PM | Registered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Lord B., the thing that we all need to remember is that in principle all taxation is theft. That is, money is being taken by by the force of the State from those who have generated wealth.

Now, most of us concede that a certain amount of the product of our labour and/or enterprise needs to contribute to things like defence, lauranorda (an Aussie expression) and a few other bits and bobs. But I read somewhere the other day (maybe at Spiked) that the UK State now expropriates around 45% of annual GDP, and is in debt up to its eyeballs.

No wonder the ever shrinking parts of the economy that actually generate wealth are retreating, either up their fundaments or to other countries.

Nov 12, 2014 at 4:02 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna


Not quite that bad just feels like it!

Nov 13, 2014 at 7:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

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