Shell could pay the annual salary of every employee in the Forest of Dean 30 times over with its record profits for 2022, figures suggest.

The oil company logged a record $39.9 billion (£32.2 billion) in post-tax profit last year, topping the previous record of $31 billion in 2008.

In light of people facing soaring energy bills and many struggling to fuel their homes, campaign group Friends of the Earth labelled the substantial rise "staggering", while opposition parties urged the Government to implement a windfall tax.

Office for National Statistics figures show the average employee in the Forest of Dean earned an average annual salary of £29,748 in 2022, according to the latest monthly figures for October.

Based on this, Shell could potentially pay the area's 35,645 payrolled employees 30 times over based on its profits last year.

Shadow climate change secretary Ed Miliband said: "As the British people face an energy price hike of 40% in April, the Government is letting the fossil fuel companies making bumper profits off the hook with their refusal to implement a proper windfall tax."

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said: "No company should be making these kinds of outrageous profits out of [Vladimir] Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.

"Rishi Sunak was warned as Chancellor and now as Prime Minister that we need a proper windfall tax on companies like Shell and he has failed to take action."

Shell also announced that it will pay a further $4 billion (£3.2 billion) to shareholders through a new share buyback programme, and will increase dividend payments by 15%.

Dr George Dibb, head of the Centre for Economic Justice at the Institute for Public Policy Research, said the transfer of wealth from bill-payers to shareholders is "inexcusable" and demands government intervention.

Dr Dibb said: "Instead of re-investing those profits in the transition to net zero, they’re spending billions on enriching their own shareholders and executives.

"The UK should follow the example set by the USA and Canada and fairly tax these share buybacks to raise hundreds of millions for the exchequer."

Campaign groups called on the Government to impose a windfall tax as people face rising bills and unions are locked in a wave of strikes in a protest over pay.

Sana Yusuf, climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: "People can see the injustice of paying eye-watering energy costs while big oil and gas firms rake in billions.

"Fairly taxing their excess profits could help to fund a nationwide programme of insulation and a renewable energy drive, which would lower bills, keep homes warmer and reduce harmful carbon emissions."