Wed. Aug 10th, 2022

The business secretary has promised to keep energy prices limited this winter despite rising wholesale prices to protect millions of consumers from price increases at Christmas.

Kwasi Kwarteng said keeping the cap in place is “non-negotiable” and did not provide further support to companies struggling after some company executives and some Tory MPs called for help to prevent industries from stopping.

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Companies require gas price caps

Kwarteng sought to reassure the public with “the safety net we have at our disposal to protect consumers from immediate price increases at Christmas, and to ensure that everyone gets the supply they need”.

“Despite some pressure on me to lift the cap, I am fully aware that it has come to stay and will remain at the same level throughout the winter,” he wrote in the Sunday Express.

“Keeping this protection in place is not negotiable for me.”

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Some energy companies have said the ceiling is not “fit for purpose” and called for reforms and emergency aid to prevent breakdowns, which will also burden taxpayers’ costs.

Utilita Energy’s non-executive chairman Derek Lickorish proposed reforms, including inspecting the ceiling four times a year: “The cap is not fit for purpose.

“There is no doubt that a huge cost will be paid by customers for failed suppliers … certainly well over £ 100 million for every 200,000 customers who fail.

“The government needs to look at how they can support not only energy suppliers but also big industry.”

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On Friday, Kwarteng met with representatives of energy-intensive industries to discuss the crisis, which has affected wholesale gas, which has risen in price by 250% since the beginning of the year.

It follows allegations that Russia, which supplies large parts of Europe, is contributing to market volatility by limiting inventories.

Businessman and Kremlin critic Bill Browder told Sky News: “I think there are economic factors that have played into the rise in gas prices and perhaps other commodities, but Vladimir Putin never lets a good crisis go to waste.

“He will definitely be trying to exploit this to his own geo-political advantage.”

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng will speak to Trevor Phillips on Sky News from 8.30 this morning.

Watch the Daily Climate Show at 6.30pm Monday to Friday on Sky News, the Sky News website and app, on YouTube and Twitter. The show explores how global warming is changing our landscape and highlighting solutions to the crisis.

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