RISHI Sunak has doubled down on fossil fuels by throwing a tax incentive to polluting oil giants, the Greens have claimed.

The party has said the Chancellor’s belated action on tackling the cost-of-living crisis would carry a heavy environmental cost.

Sunak announced a windfall tax on energy companies of 25% on excessive profits made during the pandemic – which he said would be worth around £5 billion – but included an 80% investment allowance, saving companies 91p in every pound they invest back into the country.

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Ross Greer, the Scottish Greens’ finance spokesperson, said the “perverse incentive” offered to oil and gas giants would encourage firms to continue drilling in the North Sea.

He said: “The Chancellor has provided a perverse incentive for oil and gas companies to double down on their climate-wrecking activities. 

"Big energy companies will be allowed to dodge the windfall tax if they spend more money drilling for oil and gas in UK waters, despite clear warnings that the planet is at its tipping point and needs to move away from fossil fuels immediately.

“At a time when the UK should be investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency programmes such as home insulation, proven ways to bring down bills, the Chancellor is doubling down on expensive fossil fuels.”

Sunak, the country’s richest MP and one of the wealthiest people in the UK, was forced to unveil the package of measures announced on Thursday in the wake of soaring inflation, rocketing energy bills and the damning Sue Gray report released the day before.

Greer added: “Rishi Sunak has presided over record food prices, record fuel prices and record household energy bills, yet for months he claimed there was nothing he could do.

“In a transparent attempt to distract from his own government’s outrageous behaviour he has now finally been forced to act. These measures don’t go nearly far enough to support struggling families.”

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Announcing the measures today, Sunak acknowledged that high inflation is causing “acute distress” for people in the country, telling MPs: “I know they are worried, I know people are struggling.”

He said the Government “will not sit idly by while there is a risk that some in our country might be set so far back they might never recover”.

The £6bn announcement of £400 in universal support from October replaces the initial plan for a £200 loan, with the Chancellor scrapping the requirement to repay the money.