Trends Briefing: 27th October 2022 | 9am-10am | Register here
“One way or another there needs to be government intervention. Protecting the poorest, that probably may then mean that governments need to tax people in this room to pay for it.”
With these words, the outgoing Chief Executive of Shell, Ben Van Beurden, asked governments to raise taxes on big businesses, particularly energy giants that are making unexpected profits from soaring prices. In doing so, he placed himself on the side of the British public (according to one poll, 74% of the public are in favour of the energy price cap being paid for by a windfall tax on energy producers).
But he seems to be at odds with the people who’d tax him: new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, the person who introduced the energy cap, has no intention of announcing a windfall tax – and she is intent on cutting taxes across the board rather than raising them.
It is strange for big business to ask for higher taxes and stranger still for a government to pass up the opportunity – but then, these are unusual times.
During the pandemic, we identified ‘Collectivism Reborn’ as an emerging trend, as the government unveiled remarkable, unprecedented economic interventions. That economic collectivism was paid with a social one: people forming stronger community bonds as they stood shoulder to shoulder against the pandemic, with newfound support for key workers and those who quite literally kept the country going.
In the current cost of living crisis and potential recession that is on the horizon this pandemic-era collectivism will remain a powerful influence on consumer attitudes.
In our next trends briefing on October 27th we’ll explore the strength and drivers of this trend and explore its implications for businesses and branding, on charity and philanthropy and on policy and politics. We’ll also ask how long this mood can continue in the face of protracted hardship.