Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Minister won’t say if you’ll need extra layers to get through winter

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Bills are going to rise and there might be a shortage of gas this winter
There are fears energy bills will rise to unprecedented levels this winter (Picture: Getty)

People won’t need to wrap up warm to avert an energy crisis this winter, the business minister has suggested.

Amid fears that energy bills are going to rise by £500 a year and supplies of gas could be disrupted, Kwasi Kwarteng said it was up to individuals how they might approach the coming months.

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Asked if he is advising people to wear another woolly jumper and pair of socks, he told Sky News: ‘It’s up to people – it’s amazing how different people’s cold thresholds can be very different.

‘Some people feel comfortable wrapped up in lots of different clothes, others wear relatively little – I think people should be sensible. I think people should do what they feel comfortable with.’

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Pressed if he was telling people to turn down their thermostat and wrap up warmer, he said: ‘My job as an energy minister is not to tell people how many layers of clothing they should wear, that’s not really my job.’

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An unprecedented 250% rise in the price of gas caused nine energy companies to go bust in September, with their customers passed on to other firms.

Mr Kwarteng is resisting calls to raise the energy price cap – which is due to be reviewed in April – to take account of rising costs.

He said if there’s a very cold winter, he’s confident the Government has measures in place to support people.

Mr Kwarteng said it wasn't his job to tell people how many layers to wear
Mr Kwarteng said it wasn’t his job to tell people how many layers to wear (Picture: REX)

Presenter Trevor Phillips asked if individuals reducing their energy consumption would help the country avoid gas shortages this winter.

Mr Kwarteng responded: ‘I’m not going down that route. I think people are perfectly sensible with energy. I think people understand what their use is.

‘All I am attempting to guarantee is security of supply to make sure we have a free-flowing energy system – that is what we are focused on.’

Asked about his previous advice that people will have to ‘tough out’, the current supply chain crisis, he said ‘I don’t remember that at all’.

Annual energy bills go higher than £2000 for first time
Annual energy bills go higher than £2000 for first time (Picture: Reuters)

He denied using the phrase, despite his quote being shown on the screen in front of him.

Mr Kwarteng was unable to guarantee there will be no interruptions to gas supply this winter but said he is ‘as certain as I could be’ that it will continue unhindered.

He said: ‘I’m very committed and convinced that we will have full energy supply.

‘I’m as certain as I could be. Because obviously this is a global issue, we’ve seen right across the world real supply chain pressures, you’ve seen the Chinese have power blackouts, they’re rationing supply, here in the UK our job is to make sure there is minimal disruption.’

Some companies have warned they may have to shut down production over the winter as it won’t be economical to continue, given the cost.

Mr Kwarteng met with business leaders on Friday to try to find a way forward but he denied reports he’s asked the treasury for ‘billions’ to subsidise struggling companies.

Some leaders have requested a cap on energy prices similar to the one in place for households – a measure Mr Kwarteng has not ruled out.


MORE : Your energy bills could soar past £2,000 for first time because of gas crisis


MORE : Energy, fuel and food shortages branded ‘effing crisis’ that will continue next week

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at veloxnews1@gmail.com

For more stories like this, check our news page.


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