Truss' energy price plan to offer 'comfort and clarity' to Brits, housing sec pledges

8 September 2022, 08:51 | Updated: 8 September 2022, 09:23

Government pledges to provide 'comfort an clarity' for Brits on energy

By Daisy Stephens

Liz Truss' plan to tackle energy bills will bring both 'comfort and clarity' to Brits across the country, levelling up secretary Simon Clarke has told LBC.

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Simon Clarke said the government had been attempting to deal with the energy crisis "in bite-size chunks", but Ms Truss' plan - due to be announced on Thursday - would provide a 'decisive', long-term plan.

"There is no question that what is set to come into effect in October and early next year - if we don't act - is not sustainable," said Mr Clark, referencing to the forecast 80 per cent increase to the energy price cap, set to bring the average household bill to £3,549.

"That's why the Prime Minister today will be setting out what is a lasting solution to this.

Liz Truss is set to announce her plan for tackling energy bills at 11.15am – you can follow the latest on LBC on Global Player

Read more: Why is Britain relying on European pipelines to keep gas supplies despite fears of extreme winter shortages?

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"Because we've had many months where we've attempted to deal with this in bite-size chunks if you like, and that can't continue.

"We need to provide a solution that gives both comfort but also clarity about how we're going to deal with events over the course of the months, and potentially year or two ahead when gas prices remain very high.

"We're going to be acting in a way which I think will address this decisively."

Why aren't you making the energy companies pay more taxes?

Energy prices have risen dramatically in the past year, partly due to Putin squeezing gas supplies to Europe in retaliation to Western sanctions.

"Putin has been weaponising energy in an attempt to break the resolve of the West in terms of defending Ukraine, and the massive increases in the cost of gas that we've been seeing are driven by a conscious effort on his part to make the situation unbearable," said Mr Clark.

The minister also defended Ms Truss' decision not to introduce another windfall tax.

Read more: Truss is 'harking back to Thatcherism' but the UK 'needs the polar opposite', says Andy Burnham

Read more: Liz Truss to set out 'decisive action' to battle spiralling energy bills

Oil and gas companies have been pocketing record profits - around £170b over two years - leading to calls for them to foot the bill instead of consumers grappling with a cost of living crisis.

But Mr Clark said the profits made by the companies were needed in order to allow them to invest in energy sources in the North Sea, in order to make the UK self-sufficient.

"The key principle here is that we cannot tax our way to the investment that we need to see in energy self-sufficiency in the North Sea, and that is at the heart of the Prime Minister's economic framework for this decision," he said.

"These firms are the people we're going to be absolutely relying on to deliver that next generation of North Sea oil and gas extraction... that is why we need these companies to be ploughing out investment in to the North Sea.

"We cannot do what Labour would do which is tax, tax, tax."

He also said oil and gas companies were already heavily taxed, including a windfall tax introduced earlier in the year.

"It's not as though these companies aren't paying their fair share," he said.

When will the first fracking wells start to be drilled?

Liz Truss is expected to announce a freeze on energy bills on Thursday, keeping the average household bill to around £2,500.

The freeze could last for up to two years, taking the country through until the next general election.

The newly-appointed leader's "bold plan of action" will also include more long-term solutions to the UK's energy security.

Read more: 17,000 pupils risk being in schools that can't pay their energy bills as reserves are 'sacrificed to energy companies'

Read more: Liz Truss promises 'immediate action' on energy bills in first PMQs with announcement due tomorrow

She is set to lift the ban on fracking - a controversial move, and one that has previously been criticised by her own Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng - and scrap green levies on energy bills, as well as ramp up North Sea drilling.

Ms Truss will give more detail about the plans in parliament on Thursday.

But The Times reports freezing energy bills alone would cost £150b, and will be funded through increased borrowing.