Johnson rules out cost of living measures as he meets energy bosses

Johnson ruled out taking any further financial measures to tackle the crisis ahead of his departure from office.

Boris Johnson rules out further cost of living measures as he meets energy bosses in Downing Street Flickr

Boris Johnson has urged energy bosses to act “in the interest of the country”, amid the cost of living crisis.

The Prime Minister was joined by chancellor Nadhim Zahawi at a roundtable meeting at No 11 Downing Street on Thursday.

Representatives from the energy sector including Scottish Power, EDF, SSE. E.ON and National Grid, attended the meeting.

Talks took place ahead of a further rise in the energy price cap, expected to reach over £3,500 in October.

The cap is forecast to climb even higher come the new year, with experts predicting it could hit around £4,400 in January 2023.

Downing Street has so far ruled out introducing any further measures to tackle the cost of living ahead of Johnson’s imminent departure as prime minister.

Either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak will be announced as Johnson’s successor on September 5.

Following the meeting on Thursday, the Government said the chancellor and energy firms had agreed to work closely over the coming weeks to ensure that the public, including vulnerable customers, are supported.

The chancellor told energy bosses that the Government continues to evaluate the extraordinary profits seen in the sector, as well as considering proportion steps that can be taken.

However, the Prime Minister set out that it is for his successor to make significant fiscal decisions, seemingly ruling out the prospect of any further measures until September at the earliest.

“Countries around the world are feeling the impact of Putin’s damaging war in Ukraine,” Johnson said following the meeting.

“We know that this will be a difficult winter for people across the UK, which is why we are doing everything we can to support them and must continue to do so.

“Following our meeting today, we will keep urging the electricity sector to continue working on ways we can ease the cost of living pressures and to invest further and faster in British energy security.

“We are continuing to roll out government support over the coming months, including the second £324 instalment of the cost of living payment for vulnerable households, extra help for pensioners and those with disabilities, and the £400 energy bills discount for all households.”

Zahawi said energy firms had agreed to help more people “in the spirit of national unity”.

“This morning I hosted industry leaders from the electricity sector to discuss what more they can do to work with Government and act in the interest of the country in the face of rising prices caused by Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine,” said the chancellor.

“We have already acted to protect households with £400 off energy bills and direct payments of £1,200 for eight million of the most vulnerable British families.

“In the spirit of national unity, they agreed to work with us to do more to help the people who most need it.”

The SNP’s finance spokesperson at Westminster, Alison Thewliss, criticised Johnson’s decision not to take further action.

“It’s disgraceful that Boris Johnson has failed to announce any new measures at all after today’s crunch meeting – demonstrating a total abdication of leadership from the Westminster government while millions of families suffer from the spiralling Tory cost of living crisis,” she said.

“Families need help right now – they can’t afford to wait while this zombie UK government is stuck in a state of paralysis, refusing to do anything until the Tory leadership contest is over.

“UK government ministers are not paid to sit on their hands. Parliament must be recalled and an emergency budget must be brought forward this month, cancelling the energy bill price cap rise and delivering meaningful help for families.

“With every day the UK government fails to act, they are demonstrating why Scotland needs independence, so we can have the powers and resources to take the action required.”

Following the meeting, Dhara Vyas, Energy UK’s director of advocacy, said: “The latest bill projections for this winter are extremely worrying.

“Both the Government and the energy sector know that we need to work together and act quickly to put in more support for them.  

“While energy suppliers continue to do all they can to support customers, they know that more people than ever will struggle to afford their bills and so the demand for extra help will far outstrip the support that is in place. 

“Today’s meeting was very welcome and the whole energy sector is committed to working with Government over the coming weeks to see what measures can be put in place to reduce the burden on customers.”

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