Europe

‘Nothing is off the table’ Truss supporter pledges to develop ‘domestic energy sources’

Cost of living crisis: Liz Truss supporter says ‘nothing is off table’

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Chris Philip MP, who is supporting the foreign secretary, said they recognised that the upcoming winter could be “very difficult” as the energy price cap looks set to rise and the war in Ukraine, which is halting the flow of gas into Europe, looks far from over. But Mr Philip added that “you cannot fix this with handouts”, arguing that the UK needs to become more independent and stop being at “the mercy of wholesale international gas prices”, suggesting that an increase in North Sea drilling and fracking is on the Truss agenda moving forwards. 

Mr Philip said: “We recognise that this winter could be very difficult if the energy price cap goes up as some people expect and if Vladimir Putin continues to disrupt gas supplies to Europe. 

“And I think if it turns out that because of that we need something beyond the proposed tax cuts then that is on the table. 

“Everything will be properly considered, nothing is off the table, and we want to make sure that people on lower incomes, those who may be struggling if energy prices go up further, are looked after. 

“Also, I would like to say that you cannot fix this with handouts, you need to fix the energy market, which means being less reliant on imported energy.

“We import a lot of gas from Norway and liquified natural gas from Qatar and from the USA, and we are therefore at the mercy of wholesale international gas prices, and that is damaging us at the moment. 

“So, we need to do more to develop domestic sources. That means North Sea drilling. It means opening up fracking where rural communities support it. And it means turbo charging the development of domestic nuclear power stations. 

“The critical point of Ms Truss plan is that lower taxes lead to higher growth, which is good for wages, good for the economy, and ultimately generates more tax revenues to fund the NHS and schools.” 

The energy price cap predictions are a dire picture for Britons, with bills expected to increase to more than £5,000 a year from April 2023. 

The next rise, in October this year, has left many fearing that they will not be able to afford to heat their homes this winter. 

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called for the price cap to be frozen to protect the most vulnerable from having to choose between food and heating at the end of this year.  

But the foreign secretary has rejected that solution, branding it akin to “sticking plasters on this problem”. 

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She said: “Now, my priority is reducing taxes so people can keep more of their own money at the same time as making sure we boost energy supply. 

“It is wrong to just keep sticking plasters on this problem.”

She added that the solution is for the government to be “unleashing more energy, for example, from the North Sea”, adding: “We need to solve this problem for the long term.”

Asked if she still backs the government’s existing windfall tax, she said: “I’m not in favour of windfall taxes because, fundamentally, what they do is put off investors into our country.”

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