India-born Lord Karan opposes windfall taxes in British Parl

Speaking in his capacity as the President of Confederation of British Industry, Lord Karan Bilimoria voiced his opposition to the imposition of a ‘windfall tax’ on oil and gas companies for the purpose of setting up a special fund that would subsidize the consumers’ energy bills. A report by Raj Kanwar

India-born Lord Karan Bilimoria has cautioned the British government that it was absolutely a wrong time to impose the highest ever tax burden in the past 70 years after the hammering the businesses had taken during the Coronavirus Pandemic, and that such an increase would stifle the already fragile economic recovery.

Speaking in the Parliament as the President of the Confederation of British Industry, he flagged his opposition to a ‘windfall tax’ on oil and gas companies with a view to setting up a special fund that would subsidize the consumers’ energy bills as demanded by the Labour Party. “We feel a windfall tax isn’t an efficient way as it puts investments at risk from companies that are key to our transition to net zero.”

He also raised his concerns as “taxes rise to their highest level since the post-War recovery in the early 1950s.” It followed the government’s decision to increase from April the National Insurance contribution by 1.25 percentage points to help fund the National Health Scheme (NHS) and Social Care Fund, as also the previously announced increases in corporate tax rates.

A native of Dehra Dun

A native of Dehra Dun, Karan has had his early schooling both in India and the UK where his father Lt. General F.N. Bilimoria had had a stint as the Indian Army Liaison Officer with the British Army. Later, when he turned 19, he went to England for higher studies in 1981. There he studied at some of the most prestigious schools and universities that included Cambridge, Cranfield School of Management and the Harvard Business School.

The year 1989 was a turning point in his life. As an Army officer’s son, Karan had developed a taste for Beer; he did not like the English lager, and somehow took fancy to ale which was a popular drink at most British pubs. However, Karan discovered that ale did not gel well with Indian spicy food; he thought of developing and brewing a fusion Beer that would have the refreshing taste of a lager and smoothness of ale, and would also gel well with Indian spicy food.  Thus was born the Cobra Beer.

With God’s blessings and his own untiring efforts, the nascent Beer company took off, with the founder himself playing different roles from time to time as required, including that of a ‘Delivery Boy’.  Cobra has really come a long, long way since its unheralded debut in 1989. Karan was then 28.

Journey from Karan Bilimoria to Lord Bilimoria

THE god of good luck then smiled on him, and Karan Bilimoria Esq. became the Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea, and his wife Lady Heather. Karan thus became the first ever Zoroastrian Parsi to sit in that hoary House of Lords in 2006 at age 44. Overall these years, Lord Karan has been candidly presenting in the House his considered views from a different perspective. Karan is also much active in the fields of higher education and industry. He is currently the Chancellor of the University of Birmingham. His stature as an eminent industrialist is evident from the fact that he had been elected as the President of the Confederation of British Industry – Britain’s most authoritative and representative industry conglomerate.

Lord Karan has recently stepped down as Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Cambridge Judge Business School, and is currently its Honorary Ambassador. He is also an honorary Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. In July 2014, he was installed as the seventh Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, thereby making him the first Indian-born Chancellor of a Russell Group University in Great Britain. Since 2017 Lord Bilimoria has been a Bynum Tudor Fellow at Kellogg College, University of Oxford

Raj Kanwar is a Dehra Dun-based 91-year old veteran journalist, writer and author. His latest books are DATELINE DEHRA DUN: The School Town of India and its sequel DATELINE DEHRA DUN plus 45 Admirable Couples