Who says tax rises are always unpopular?

Windfall taxes, on utility fat cats, wouldn't be.

From the Press Association:

"British Gas owner Centrica announced an 80% rise in profits at its residential arm, but the firm said further cuts in domestic bills were far from certain.

"Centrica reported residential operating profits of £299 million for the six months to June 30, up from £166 million in the same period last year as a cold snap in January and February and falling wholesale costs helped boost performance."

For years, utility companies have made record profits, in the billions, while raising prices for consumers and hiding behind the excuse of rising wholesale costs. But, this time round, wholesale energy prices have come down and remain low. If the likes of Centrica don't pass on their bumper profits to consumers, in the form of price cuts, then Mr Darling and the taxman should step in and intervene.

Mehdi Hasan is a contributing writer for the New Statesman and the co-author of Ed: The Milibands and the Making of a Labour Leader. He was the New Statesman's senior editor (politics) from 2009-12.

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New Digital Editor: Serena Kutchinsky

The New Statesman appoints Serena Kutchinsky as Digital Editor.

Serena Kutchinsky is to join the New Statesman as digital editor in September. She will lead the expansion of the New Statesman across a variety of digital platforms.

Serena has over a decade of experience working in digital media and is currently the digital editor of Newsweek Europe. Since she joined the title, traffic to the website has increased by almost 250 per cent. Previously, Serena was the digital editor of Prospect magazine and also the assistant digital editor of the Sunday Times - part of the team which launched the Sunday Times website and tablet editions.

Jason Cowley, New Statesman editor, said: “Serena joins us at a great time for the New Statesman, and, building on the excellent work of recent years, she has just the skills and experience we need to help lead the next stage of our expansion as a print-digital hybrid.”

Serena Kutchinsky said: “I am delighted to be joining the New Statesman team and to have the opportunity to drive forward its digital strategy. The website is already established as the home of free-thinking journalism online in the UK and I look forward to leading our expansion and growing the global readership of this historic title.

In June, the New Statesman website recorded record traffic figures when more than four million unique users read more than 27 million pages. The circulation of the weekly magazine is growing steadily and now stands at 33,400, the highest it has been since the early 1980s.