Matthew Taylor

Energy price cap ‘will not be moved’ this winter, says Business Secretary

Energy price cap ‘will not be moved’ this winter, says Business Secretary
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The Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng joined Trevor Phillips this morning amid a time of turmoil in the energy markets. Wholesale gas prices have risen by 250 per cent since January, and by as much as 70 per cent since August, when the market regulator Ofgem announced its latest price cap for consumers. With 12 energy companies already having gone bust since the start of the year, the government is facing calls within the industry to increase the price cap so that pressure can be eased on smaller firms. However, Kwarteng told Phillips that the current cap was here to stay until April of next year:

KK: The price cap is the biggest shield in terms of consumer prices, and… it will not be moved.

‘I am speaking to government colleagues…’

While discussing the support that the government would give to businesses in order to help with their energy costs, Kwarteng made the claim that he was in close contact with the Treasury on this issue:

KK: I am speaking to government colleagues, particularly the Treasury, to try and see a way through this.

However, within an hour of Kwarteng’s assertion, Sky’s deputy political editor Sam Coates popped up with a sharp rebuke from an unnamed Treasury source:

UK is ‘working very effectively’ with France over border crossings

Phillips also bought up the matter of refugees making the hazardous crossing from France to Great Britain. The government has an agreement with their French counterparts to help try to stop any such crossings before they are made, with a contribution of £54 million made by the UK government. However, the Home Secretary Priti Patel has recently threatened to withhold the money. Kwarteng downplayed the suggestion that there was a problem on the horizon:

KK: All I can say is that we’ve worked very effectively with the French government so far… It is a good collaborative relationship.

Jonathan Reynolds – Labour would not nationalise energy companies

Phillips went on to speak to the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Jonathan Reynolds, asking him about Labour’s intended remedies for helping to resolve the gas crisis. At the Labour party conference, the party’s leader Sir Keir Starmer came under fire for being evasive about his earlier promises to nationalise energy companies. Reynolds too, suggested from his response that Labour was not looking at nationalisation as a solution:

JR: Public ownership will always be part of our plans for some sectors, but… the energy crisis has come from complacency.

Michael Heseltine – ‘We are already running on borrowed time’

Former Deputy Prime Minister Michael Heseltine had a grim prognosis for the future of the British economy:

MH: I think we are heading to a significant increase in inflation, which will lead to increases in interest rates. And if I was Chancellor of the Exchequer, I would be extremely worried… We’re already running on borrowed time.

Jenny Harries – Getting flu and Covid together is more dangerous

And finally, Dr Jenny Harries, the chief executive of the new Health Security Agency, told Andrew Marr that it was important that people made sure that they were protected against flu this winter, after research suggesting that ‘co-infection’ with Covid was still a serious risk:

JH: It’s a more uncertain year… People are at more significant risk of death and of serious illness if they are co-infected with flu and with Covid, and that doesn’t seem to be… a fact which many of the public understand.