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‘We can ride out the storm’: Liz Truss vows to ‘deal hands-on’ with the energy crisis

Truss is expected to introduce an energy plan on Thursday

Liz Truss gave her first official speech as UK Prime Minister on Tuesday afternoon, vowing to deliver a plan that would help the nation “ride out the storm” of the energy crisis.

While Truss is expected to name a new cabinet and outline a plan to deal with the energy cost crisis, the Prime Minister’s opening statement was short and sweet, but did have energy bills at the heart of it.

There are reports that Truss is “planning to borrow billions” in order to introduce a price freeze on energy bills, which could be capped at £2,500. In comparison, typical electricity bills for households are expected to rise from £1,971 to £3,549 in October.

Truss’ opening speech provided little detail of these plans, but she did state that the Government would get “hands-on” to deal with the issue.

“I have a bold plan to grow the economy through tax cuts and reform. I will cut taxes to reward hard work and boost business-led growth and investment. I will drive reform in my mission to get the United Kingdom working, building, and growing,” Truss said.

“We will get spades in the ground to make sure people are not facing unaffordable energy bills and we will also make sure, that we are building hospitals, schools, roads, and broadband. Secondly, I will deal hands-on with the energy crisis caused by Putin’s war. I will take action this week to deal with energy bills and to secure our future energy supply.

“I am confident that together we can: Ride out the storm, we can rebuild our economy, and we can become the modern brilliant Britain that I know we can be.”

Energy crisis summary

At the end of August, regulator Ofgem raised the energy price cap, pushing the average household energy gas and electricity bills to more than £3,500 annually, prompting fresh calls for urgent policy intervention.

The new price cap will come into force in October and run through to the end of December, leaving many households worried as to how they will afford to pay their bills. The new cap will affect 24 million households – about 85% of the population. Want to know how the energy price rises could impact businesses? Click here.

It is important to state that while this has been branded an energy cost crisis, the key contributor to rising costs is gas. Analysis from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) has found that is likely to add £2,300 to the average costs increase to date and could surpass £3,000 next year  – around 95% of the total costs.

Trussworthy plan?

As part of her campaign bid, Truss hinted that she may freeze energy prices to help households, and the Prime Minister has claimed that her plan to deal with the energy crisis will arrive this week.

As part of her leadership bid, Truss promised to unveil plans to deal with the energy crisis within her first seven days as Prime Minister.

Truss, who was named as the new Prime Minister on Monday, told the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg that she would “act immediately” to help with bills. However, little detail on how this would be achieved has been provided.

Truss has been very pro-fossil-fuel and largely anti-renewables during her campaign, particularly solar. Truss, who worked for Shell between 1996 and 2000, has indicated that she is against the current windfall tax on oil and gas majors and stated that she would allow fracking in areas where local communities support it. She has also made headlines this week with talk of approving more than 100 new oil and gas licenses in the North Sea – a proposal slammed by climate scientists.

During the leadership campaign, Truss has been vocal of her displeasure around solar farms, labelling them as “depressing sights” and “paraphernalia”. However, green groups have been quick to criticise these claims.

However, partly in response to the energy crisis, Truss has suggested that she would pause some green funding initiatives in order to increase North Sea gas extraction. During an interview with The Spectator, Truss said she may introduce a “temporary moratorium on the green energy levy to enable businesses and industry to thrive while looking at the best way of delivering net-zero”.

With the Lib Dems calling for snap general election, Truss and her Cabinet members may well focus on net-zero in order to face up to Labour’s plans for the net-zero transition.

© Faversham House Ltd 2022 edie news articles may be copied or forwarded for individual use only. No other reproduction or distribution is permitted without prior written consent.

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