Cost of living- latest: Liz Truss told her gas plan ‘is not the answer’ to energy bills crisis

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss ‘saying nothing’ to tackle cost of living crisis, Labour MP says

Liz Truss’s plan to drill for more North Sea oil and gas “is not the answer” to the cost of living crisis, Labour has warned.

The foreign secretary and favourite to replace Boris Johnson as prime minister is reportedly poised to approve a series of drilling licences if she enters No 10 Downing Street next week.

Anneliese Dodds, the Labour Party chairwoman, said the proposals would do nothing to help with soaring bills in the immediate future as she warned the price cap rise would “plunge many, many households into financial distress”.

Earlier, a Conservative minister described his party’s lengthy leadership contest as “deeply regrettable” during the cost of living crisis.

Matt Warman said the months-long move to find the new prime minister was “disruptive” and said the consequences had been warned about even before Boris Johnson was ousted from office.

Liz Truss, was last night accused of “running scared” after she pulled out of an in-depth BBC interview – due to take place on Tuesday evening – at the last minute.


Birmingham will provide ‘warm banks’

Birmingham has become the latest council announcing measures to provide or highlight so-called “warm banks” – by pledging to “map out spaces across the city where people can go to keep warm”, Adam Forrest, our politics correspondent, reports.

Councillor John Cotton, cabinet member at the Labour-run local authority, said: “Whether that’s local community centres, places of worship or libraries, we want to help people to find places where they will be welcomed, free of charge.”

He added: “It should not be the case that people cannot afford to keep their homes warm, but that is the reality that we are facing here in Birmingham.”


Greenpeace – Truss plan on oil and gas will have ‘no impact on bills’

Greenpeace has warned new drilling oil and gas could take 25 years to pump out and “have no real impact on energy bills”, while exacerbating climate change.

Tory leadership frontrunner has pledged to grant new permits if she wins the contest to replace Boris Johnson as prime minister.

Greenpeace UK’s chief scientist Dr Doug Parr said: “Unleashing a North Sea drilling frenzy isn’t a plan to help bill payers but a gift to the fossil fuel giants already making billions from this crisis.

“New oil and gas could take a quarter of a century to pump out, will be eventually sold at global prices, and have no real impact on energy bills, yet still fuel the climate crisis.

“Our gas dependence is what got us into this mess and doubling down on it won’t get us out of it. New renewables are nine times cheaper than gas. Turbo-charging renewables and fixing our energy-wasting homes by investing in insulation is the quickest way to reduce our gas dependence and bring energy bills under control.”

“If Liz Truss really wants to help cash-strapped households, she should bring in an energy bill freeze alongside extra financial support for the poorest households, partly funded by properly taxing the astronomical profits of oil and gas companies.”


ICYMI: Johnson hails gigabit broadband expansion as he enters final week in office

Boris Johnson has hailed the expansion of gigabit-speed broadband as he seeks to emphasise his achievements as prime minister during his final week in office.

The outgoing premier will on Tuesday visit north Dorset, where work is kicking off on the first major contract under the government’s Project Gigabit, the £5 billion programme to roll out more reliable broadband to hard-to-reach areas.


ICYMI: ‘Simplistic’ Liz Truss warned her VAT cut will ‘crash the public finances’

Liz Truss will “crash the public finances” if she pursues a huge VAT cut, a leading economist is warning, amid fresh confusion over her plans for the cost of living emergency.

Our deputy politics editor Rob Merrick reports:


Trade union leaders back co-ordinated action over pay as cost of living crisis escalates

Trade union leaders have backed co-ordinated action over pay as the UK’s cost of living crisis escalates.

Frances O’Grady, the general secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), said: “It always makes sense for working people to work together”.

The UK’s largest two unions are seeking to co-ordinate industrial action as they step up pay demands this winter.

Our Whitehall editor Kate Devlin reports:


Digital minister’s internet connection freezes…during interview about broadband roll out

DCMS minister Matt Warman lost his internet connection this morning…while giving an interview about the government’s rollout of broadband in southern England.

Mr Warman was speaking to LBC when his line into the show appeared to drop out.

The irony was not lost on host Nick Ferrari: “This is handy. You’re the broadband minister and you can’t hear me.” Watch more of the exchange below:


Truss oil and gas drilling plan ‘not the answer’

Dodds has also criticised Truss’s reported plan to authorise more oil and gas drilling licences in the North Sea.

The plan, Dodds said, “is not the answer” to reducing soaring energy bills now as she warned the price cap rise would “plunge many, many households into financial distress”, she told Times Radio.

The Labour Party chair also criticised the foreign secretary’s reported plan to slash VAT.


‘Fantasy economics’

Anneliese Dodds, the Labour Party chairwoman, has been out on the broadcast round for the opposition.

She accused Tory leadership rivals Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak over their plans to alleviate the cost of living crisis.

Ms Dodds said her party would only ever set out plans that “we have fully costed”. “I’m afraid right now from the Conservatives we’re just getting fantasy economics,” she told Times Radio.


ICYMI: Truss will not finalise cost of living plan until she gets ‘full support and advice’ as PM

Liz Truss’s camp says she will not finalise her plans for crucial cost-of-living support before receiving the “full support and advice” only available to the government of the day.

The public will likely be forced to wait to find out what help they will get with skyrocketing energy bills until Ms Truss is expected to replace Boris Johnson in Downing Street next week.

The Tory leadership frontrunner has been accused by Labour of causing families “unnecessary worry” with her “flip-flopping” on potential measures to deal with the cost-of-living crisis.

Her campaign, which is under growing pressure to detail how she would help households this winter, said that meetings offered with Government officials to prepare for a possible transition do not cover all the information needed for Ms Truss to make an informed decision.

A campaign source said: “Liz and her team are working to ensure that they are able to hit the ground running if she is elected Prime Minister.

“Access meetings with the Cabinet Secretary have been offered to provide limited briefings to help prepare for forming an administration.

“But addressing the cost of living crisis will rightly require the full support and advice that is only available to the government of the day.”



Levelling up could be abandoned as inflation soars, ministers warned

The government’s Levelling up agenda could be abandoned when Boris Johnson leaves office due to rising inflation, experts have warned.

Neil O’Brien, a former Levelling up minister and Mr Johnson’s adviser on the issue, has said that inflation “will make a lot of projects less viable”.

He told The Times: “Construction cost is even higher than general price inflation.

“A lot of councils will be looking at de-scoping projects or dropping elements. But short-term, ironically, it may reduce spending and slow needed progress, because councils may sit on their hands while they rework their projects.”

Henri Murison, the director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership lobbying group, said: “The problem is the government doesn’t give you what it costs to build something, it’s a fixedfunding agreement, and lots of councils are going to be stuck either having to give the whole money back or make up the difference themselves.”

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