Liz Truss promises to ‘deliver’ on energy crisis as she becomes PM
Image credit: PA Media
Liz Truss, the UK's new Prime Minister, may be strongly considering freezing energy bills in a bid to ease the burden on households come winter, according to reports.
Liz Truss has been declared the winner of the Tory leadership contest, defeating Rishi Sunak to become Boris Johnson's successor as the UK's new Prime Minister.
In her victory speech, Truss said she has a "bold plan" to cut taxes and grow the UK economy and promised to "deliver" when it comes to the energy crisis by not only dealing with bills but also addressing the long-term supply issues.
According to reports in The Times and The Daily Telegraph, Truss' strategy to ease the impact of the rising energy costs could include the freezing of energy bills. This package might take the form of a furlough scheme similar to that introduced by then-Chancellor Rishi Sunak when the Covid-19 pandemic struck, but the specifics of such a policy are reportedly still being debated.
On Sunday, Truss revealed she would announce her strategy to support households struggling to pay energy bills within a week, but has so far declined to spell out what those support measures might look like.
“Before you have been elected as prime minister, you don’t have all the wherewithal to get the things done,” she told the BBC. “This is why it will take a week to sort out the precise plans and make sure we are able to announce them. That is why I cannot go into details at this stage. It would be wrong.”
Truss' victory speech today revealed no additional details regarding this strategy.
Boris Johson celebrated Truss' win, saying that she has "the right plan to tackle the cost-of-living crisis, unite our party and continue the great work of uniting and levelling up our country”. The first ministers of Wales and Scotland have also congratulated her, whilst calling for policies to address the cost of living crisis "with urgency".
Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, said: “She must now freeze energy bills for people and businesses, deliver more cash support and increase funding for public services”.
The UK is facing a deepening cost-of-living crisis, with inflation hitting historic levels and predicted to enter double-digit figures. The rising prices of energy bills - prompted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine - are the main catalyst of this situation, which could leave as many as 40 per cent of British families facing fuel poverty in the winter.
Energy bills are expected to increase by a record 80 per cent in the UK in October after regulator Ofgem confirmed it will increase its price cap for the average home from £1,971 to £3,549.
In order to reduce their bills during the coldest months of winter, one in 10 homeowners has said they plan to heat their homes using real fires, according to research by Aviva. The research showed that three out of five residents who plan to use this strategy are ignoring necessary precautions, potentially putting lives and homes at risk.
"It is a real concern that people could be putting so much at risk by not taking simple fire safety steps," said Hannah Davidson, senior household underwriting manager for Aviva.
“Homes, possessions and sadly lives can be put in jeopardy if chimneys are capped or aren’t swept properly, or the wrong type of fuel is used. We’d urge people to take action now to make sure fireplaces and stoves are safe and suitable if people plan to use them this year."
The study also showed that only 37 per cent of fire users ensure their chimney is swept annually, while a similar proportion said they check whether fuel is suitable for their fire or stove. Moreover, just 41 per cent said they make certain their chimney is not blocked or capped off, according to the survey.
“It’s understandable that people are looking for alternative ways to heat their properties, but it’s vital that people put a few checks in place first, to enjoy the warmth and comfort of a real fire without worry,” Davidson added.
Despite Truss' pledges, the leaders of the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties have criticised the government's lack of action regarding the energy crisis, with the latter calling for a general election.
“Under Liz Truss, we’re set to see more of the same crisis and chaos as under Boris Johnson,” said Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer added: “We’ve heard far more from the latest prime minister about cuts to corporation tax over the summer than we have about the cost-of-living crisis, the single most important thing that’s bearing down on so many millions of households.
“That shows not only that she’s out of touch, but she’s not on the side of working people.”
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