A SO-CALLED windfall tax on oil and gas companies has been backed by a Barnsley MP - after inflation rose to a 40-year high to compound the cost-of-living crisis currently impacting thousands of local families.

Dan Jarvis, who represents Barnsley Central, voted for the tax in order to help households hit by National Insurance hikes and spiralling energy bills.

It came after Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson of dithering over providing help as inflation hit nine per cent.

He suggested the government will eventually perform U-turn over windfall taxes and that every day he delayed doing so he was choosing ‘to let people struggle when they don’t need to’.

Dan said: “I voted for a windfall tax on oil and gas companies to put cash in the pockets of struggling families.

“The Conservatives voted it down.

“I’ve also voted for an emergency budget to tackle the cost-of-living crisis that is battering Barnsley families.

“My question to Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak is clear: whose side are you on?”

A windfall tax is a one-off tax imposed by a government on a company or group of companies.

There were renewed calls for a charge for energy companies after BP and Shell both reported big increases in profits as oil and gas prices surge.

Labour has been calling for a windfall tax on oil and gas companies in the North Sea to help households and energy-intensive industries cope with higher fuel bills.

Rising fears over the town’s plight have been expressed by MPs, with one in three children now being classed as living in poverty.

Dan added: “The cost-of-living crisis isn’t something that just affects households and individuals - it’s hitting businesses hard as well.

“The soaring costs of energy - as one Mapplewell business owner told me - meant that it was costing more to light one room in his shop than it was to power their house.

“Everyone was facing rising wholesale prices and the awful reality of having to put their prices up in turn - the stark reality is that the less disposable income people have in their pockets, the less able they are to support local businesses which in turn creates a vicious cycle of economic downturn.

“The Conservatives’ inaction and complacency over the cost-of-living is having a devastating impact.

“We are stuck in a decade-long cycle of low growth and high taxes and that is hitting workers and businesses alike.

“People across Barnsley are genuinely fearful for what the coming weeks and months will bring.

“Those on lower incomes and the most vulnerable in society will be left wondering how they’re going to keep the lights on and put food on the table.

“Food, fuel, energy and travel costs all spiralling out of control.

“Compared to the national average, we have more people struggling to heat their homes, more businesses that are energy intensive, and more people not in the workforce.

“We’re witnessing the biggest fall in living standards since records began.”