Liz Truss today vowed to end the UK’s energy problems "once and for all" as she unveiled her long-awaited blueprint to tackle the cost-of-living crisis.
The Prime Minister announced a new "Energy Price Guarantee" which will ensure the typical household will pay no more than £2,500 a year on their energy bill for the next two years, starting from October 1.
Ms Truss said the energy bill freeze will save the average household £1,000 a year.
She also announced that she is lifting a ban on fracking and will take action to boost domestic energy production.
She told the House of Commons: “I will end the UK’s short-termist approach to energy security and supply once and for all. That is what I promised on the steps of Downing Street. Today we are acting decisively on that pledge.
“This will help us build a stronger, more resilient and more secure United Kingdom.”
Follow the latest updates below.
Thank you for joining me for today’s politics live blog.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Business Secretary, said the UK “must have energy independence and become a net exporter of energy by 2040”.
Mr Rees-Mogg told the House of Commons: “Looking at the long term, we must fix our broken energy system. We must have energy independence and become a net exporter of energy by 2040.
“We cannot be held captive by volatile global markets or malevolent states, we must tackle the root causes of problems in our energy market by boosting domestic supply.”
Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Business Secretary, told the House of Commons the “energy price guarantee will ensure bills are kept down, remaining at around £2,500 a year for the average consumer”.
Mr Rees-Mogg said: “This intervention reflects the severity of the situation we find ourselves in and the Government-funded support will take effect from October 1, saving the average household around £1,000.”
He added: “We know that from biscuit makers to bars, businesses are worried about their bills and the Government price guarantee for businesses will be announced shortly. We’ll bring down energy bills for the acute phase of this crisis."
Labour’s shadow climate change secretary Ed Miliband told the House of Commons that the Prime Minister’s energy plan is “not a good deal for consumers”.
Mr Miliband said: “(The Prime Minister) has been clear that she is against a windfall tax. We know the effects of this, it means all of the costs are loaded onto the British people."
The Telegraph has examined who stands to benefit the most – and least – from the energy bills plan announced by Liz Truss this morning.
You can read the analysis in full here.
Almost one third of voters – 29 per cent – believe Liz Truss will be Prime Minister for just one year, according to a new poll for The Telegraph conducted by Redfield & Wilton Strategies.
Meanwhile, some 30 per cent believe Ms Truss will be premier for about two years.
Just eight per cent said they expect Ms Truss to still be Prime Minister beyond the next general election, expected to take place in 2024.
One in five voters – 21 per cent – believe Liz Truss’s Cabinet will be better than Boris Johnson’s last Cabinet.
A Redfield & Wilton Strategies survey conducted for The Telegraph asked voters which Cabinet they believe will be best.
Some 16 per cent said they believe Ms Truss’s Cabinet is worse than Mr Johnson’s. A plurality – 43 per cent – said Ms Truss’s Cabinet will be neither better nor worse than Mr Johnson’s.
Liz Truss and Sir Keir Starmer are tied among voters on the question of who people would trust more to confront the cost-of-living crisis, according to an exclusive poll conducted by Redfield & Wilton Strategies for The Telegraph.
The poll, which was conducted yesterday, found that 38 per cent of respondents said they trusted Ms Truss to deal with the issue while 38 per cent also said they trusted Sir Keir.
Just under a quarter – 24 per cent – said they were unsure.
The Bank of England will hand cash-starved energy companies up to £40bn of Covid-style loans as suppliers struggle to protect themselves from soaring prices.
Liz Truss announced a joint scheme between the Bank and the Treasury to provide emergency short-term help in an intervention that ministers hope can slash energy costs.
Surging prices mean energy providers are having to provide more capital when buying energy to effectively insure against price swings. The huge capital requirements are stretching balance sheets in the sector.
You can read the full story here.
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford has called for Universal Credit to be increased by £25 a week as he said Liz Truss’s energy support package does not go far enough.
He said: "This energy plan is not only defined by the choice it makes to make the public pay instead of the excess profits of massive corporations, it is also defined by its glaring omissions.
“Because there is no proper plan to help those that are already struggling. Support needs to be targeted to low income households and those negatively impacted by spiralling costs such as unpaid carers, larger households, and disabled people.”
He added: “If the new Prime Minister is serious about helping everyone through this winter, she should at the very least lift Universal Credit by £25 a week.”
Shevaun Haviland, the director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: "The BCC welcomes this quick and positive intervention from Government. It is clear the new Prime Minister has listened to firms and is providing a strong package of support for business, equivalent to the crucial support to consumers.
“We welcome the breadth of the offer to all non-domestic energy users with businesses, charities and public sector organisations to be included.
“The price cap is a measure the BCC has previously called for. It will give businesses some financial certainty on the outlook for the next six months. It is crucial that there is a review at three months so there is time to plan for the end of the six-month period."
Sir Ed Davey, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, said the Government is "choosing to put energy bills up" as he argued that the support package announced by Liz Truss is nowhere near generous enough.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Sir Ed said: "What the Prime Minister has just announced is not a freeze on people’s energy bills. In the middle of a cost of living emergency, the Conservatives are choosing to put energy bills up by another £500 for struggling families.
"This hike in people’s energy bills comes on top of the £700 rise we saw last April. Struggling families will be paying twice as much for energy as they were last year."
Mel Stride, the Tory chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, said he "broadly welcomed" the Government’s "bold" package of measures to address the energy crisis as he said the nation is going through "truly frightening times".
He warned that "debt is most certainly going to increase, as is the deficit".
Mr Stride also said it is "critical" that there is an Office for Budget Responsibility economic forecast published on the same day as the Government conducts its emergency fiscal event, expected later this month.
He said there is "great uncertainty" about how much the energy package will cost and "we need to see what the impact of that is going to be on the public finances in order to reassure the markets".
The pound rose against the dollar after Liz Truss unveiled her energy plan in the House of Commons.
Sterling lifted to more than 1.1544 US dollars as Ms Truss promised to freeze energy bills for people across the UK, after dropping to around 1.1476 US dollars earlier in the day.
It follows the pound dropping to a new 37-year-low against the US dollar yesterday. The pound was also up to around 1.152 against the euro after the plans were unveiled.
Which? the consumer champion has welcomed the Government’s energy plan but warned some people will still struggle to afford higher bills.
Rocio Concha, Which? director of policy and advocacy, said: "This is a bold intervention that will provide huge relief for many and prevent millions of households being left in the cold.
"However, even with this help, it’s likely that some consumers will still struggle to afford higher energy bills this winter and the government may need to provide additional support for those on low incomes."
The Adam Smith Institute, a right-of-centre think tank, has criticised Liz Truss’s energy bill freeze, arguing that the Prime Minister should have chosen to roll out targeted support instead.
Emily Fielder, head of communications at the think tank, said: “Whilst a large-scale intervention to help households and businesses struggling with their unprecedentedly high energy bills is clearly necessary, it is vital that the Government does so in a way that preserves incentives for reducing demand and suitably targets those most in need of help.
"Unfortunately, capping energy prices at £2,500 does neither of these things. Freezing energy bills at a lower rate creates an artificial price signal for end users, who will therefore have little incentive to reduce consumption, which could lead to energy rationing and blackouts this winter.
"This also subsidises affluent households which use more energy, while still effectively raising the energy price cap to a level which is still unmanageably high for those on very low incomes."
Sir Ed Davey, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, has criticised Liz Truss’s energy bills plan, labelling it a "phony freeze".
He said in a statement: "This phony freeze will still leave struggling families and pensioners facing impossible choices this winter as energy bills almost double.
“Liz Truss and the Conservatives are choosing to allow this huge hike to people’s heating costs, while refusing to properly tax the eye-watering profits of oil and gas companies.
“This is a deliberate choice and it is the wrong one. People are furious that once again the Conservatives are on the side of oil and gas giants making record profits rather than families struggling to make ends meet.”
Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Commons Speaker, has just made the following statement in the House of Commons: "I wish to say something about the announcement which has just been made about Her Majesty.
"I know I speak on behalf of the entire House when I say that we send our best wishes to Her Majesty the Queen and that she and the royal family are in our thoughts and prayers at this moment."
The whole country will be deeply concerned by the news from Buckingham Palace this lunchtime.
My thoughts – and the thoughts of people across our United Kingdom – are with Her Majesty The Queen and her family at this time.
The Queen is under medical supervision at Balmoral after doctors became concerned for her health, Buckingham Palace said.
A Palace spokesperson said: “Following further evaluation this morning, the Queen’s doctors are concerned for Her Majesty’s health and have recommended she remain under medical supervision. The Queen remains comfortable and at Balmoral.”
Theresa May has welcomed the Government’s new energy bills support package.
Speaking in the House of Commons, the former prime minister said: "People need help with their bills today, that is what the Government is providing. Britain lead the world through the industrial revolution.
"If we grasp the opportunity now, we can lead the world in a cleaner, greener form of growth."
Sir Keir Starmer concluded his speech in response to Liz Truss’s energy bills announcement by saying that "Britain needs a fresh start".
He told the House of Commons: "We need a government that will never leave working people to pick up the tab for excess profits of the energy industry.
"We need a government that plans for the long term rather than leaving us badly exposed to the whims of dictators and we need a government that will drive us forward to energy independence rather than doubling down on fossil fuels.
"The change we need is not the fourth Tory prime minister in six years, it is a Labour government."
Sir Keir Starmer said: "This support does not come cheap and the real question before the House today, the real question the Government faces, the political question is who is going to pay?
"The Treasury estimates that energy producers could make £170 billion in unexpected windfall profits over the next two years."
He repeated that Labour wants to see the windfall tax expanded so that energy companies pay for the energy bill freeze.
He told Liz Truss: "She wants to leave these vast profits on the table with one clear and obvious consequence: The bill will be picked up by working people."
Sir Keir Starmer said the nation is in the middle of a "national emergency" which is why the Labour Party "spent the summer fighting for a price freeze so that no household would pay a penny more on their bills".
The Labour leader said that there had been some objections to the party’s call for a freeze.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Sir Keir said: "They dismissed our call for support as handouts. But those objections could never last. The Prime Minister had no choice. No government can stand by while millions of families fall into poverty while businesses shut their doors and the economy falls to ruin.
"So I am pleased there is action today and that the principle of a price limit has been accepted. But under our plan not a penny more on bills. Under this plan, a price rise."
There is no getting away from it – this is a huge moment for the country and a huge move from Liz Truss, one which will define her early premiership, writes Ben Riley-Smith, The Telegraph’s political editor.
The package of measures announced by Ms Truss – household energy bills frozen for two years and for businesses for six months – far outstrips the Covid furlough intervention in cost.
The Prime Minister has not just stolen Labour’s proposal for an energy bill freeze until next spring, she has multiplied it over and over again.
The cost to the taxpayer? We do not know – the Treasury will not make a forecast until later in the month and even then it will be uncertain. Somewhere north of £100 billion seems certain.
Ms Truss delivered the reveal in a steady, solemn tone in the House of Commons. Less than 48 hours into the job, the new Prime Minister has acted with decisiveness. What comes next remains to be seen.
Liz Truss’s energy plan at a glance:
Liz Truss concluded her speech by telling MPs: “I will end the UK’s short-termist approach to energy security and supply once and for all.
“That is what I promised on the steps of Downing Street. Today we are acting decisively on that pledge.
“This will help us build a stronger, more resilient and more secure United Kingdom.”
It’s official: The ban on fracking is being lifted.
Liz Truss told MPs: “We will end the moratorium on extracting our huge reserves of shale, which could get gas flowing in as soon as six months, where there is local support for it.”
Liz Truss said that the Government will “use these next two years ahead of us to make sure that the United Kingdom is never in this situation again”.
She said there will be two reviews: A review of energy regulation to fix "underlying problems" and a review “to ensure we deliver net zero by 2050 in a way that is pro-business and pro-growth”.
Liz Truss told the House of Commons: “This is the moment to be bold. We are facing a global energy crisis and there are no ‘cost-free’ options. There will be a cost to this intervention."
The Prime Minister said the Government is "acting immediately to defray the cost of this intervention in three ways".
Ms Truss said the Government will take action to “ramp up supply” of domestic energy, today’s intervention will boost growth and “curb inflation by up to five percentage points”, and up to £40 billion will be made available to ensure wholesale energy firms have the cash they need to “manage price volatility”.
Liz Truss said that Kwasi Kwarteng, the Chancellor, will be setting out the costs of the energy bills plan “as part of his fiscal statement later this month”.
The Prime Minister said the Government “will not be giving in to the Leader of the Opposition who calls for this to be funded through a windfall tax”.
“That would undermine the national interest by discouraging the very investment we need to secure home-grown energy supplies,” she said.
Businesses will be given the equivalent help on energy bills which is being offered to consumers, Liz Truss has announced.
The Prime Minister said that the support for businesses will be in place for an initial period of six months.
After those six months there will then be support provided to vulnerable sectors like hospitality.
Kwasi Kwarteng, the Chancellor, will review where the support should be targeted. That review will be concluded within three months.
Liz Truss is now on her feet in the House of Commons.
She immediately announced that she is rolling out a new “Energy Price Guarantee” which will save a typical household £1,000 a year.
The energy bill freeze will mean that the typical household will pay no more than £2,500 per year.
Ms Truss said: “This Government is moving immediately to introduce a new Energy Price Guarantee that will give people certainty on energy bills. It will curb inflation and boost growth.
“This Guarantee – which includes the temporary suspension of green levies – means that from October 1 a typical household will pay no more than £2,500 per year for each of the next two years, while we get the energy market back on track. This will save a typical household £1,000 a year.”
The Business Statement is now finishing in the House of Commons which means Liz Truss’s energy statement is now imminent.
It is hard to overstate just how politically significant Liz Truss’s energy announcement will be.
She has only been Prime Minister for two days but what she says in the House of Commons this morning will likely define her premiership.
If the scale of support she announces is judged to be too small then she will face a swift and ferocious backlash which would inflict a hammer blow on her administration which could be hard to recover from.
If the scale of the support is judged to be too large then she could well face growing pressure over the state of the public finances and her decision to pay for the package through borrowing.
Ms Truss will have to walk a narrow tightrope but if she manages to pull it off she will then be able to focus on addressing the myriad of other major issues which are currently in her in-tray.
The Liberal Democrats have demanded the Government publish an official report examining the risk of earthquakes caused by fracking.
The report, conducted by the British Geological Society, was submitted to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in July of this year but it has not yet been published.
Wera Hobhouse, the Lib Dems’ energy spokeswoman, said: "Ministers must come clean and publish this report immediately. People must not be kept in the dark about the impact that fracking could have on their local community."
Liz Truss’s motorcade has just arrived at Parliament ahead of her energy plan announcement which is expected to get underway at about 11.30am.
The new Environment Secretary has given water company chief executives until September 21 to set out “significant improvements” to prevent sewage being dumped in open water.
Ranil Jayawardena told the House of Commons this morning: “The volume of sewage spewed out by water companies is completely unacceptable and the public have rightly shown their outrage.”
He added: “Yesterday, in my first day in office, I told water chief executives that it is not good enough and I have instructed them to write to me formally by September 21 with a plan on how they are going to make significant improvements."
Liz Truss has ruled that “ties are back” at Number 10 as she prepares to turn her back on the casual Dominic Cummings era.
The Prime Minister has made it clear she wants to re-introduce a dress code, with officials told to wear shirts and ties as part of a new, more formal style of government.
It contrasts with the more light-hearted atmosphere in Downing Street under Boris Johnson and Mr Cummings, his controversial former Chief of Staff. During his time in Number 10, Mr Cummings shunned a suit and tie, and became famous for his casual outfits.
You can read the full story here.
It is not yet officially confirmed but it now seems certain that Liz Truss will lift the ban on fracking in England.
Simon Clarke, the Levelling Up Secretary, said that "taking more gas from all sources is a sensible thing to do if there is community consent".
He told the BBC: "We need gas from all sources as part of our transition to net zero. Net zero by 2050 is an absolute pledge that this Government remains committed to."
He added: "We do need to be pragmatic. With Putin weaponising gas supplies we need as much of our own gas in the near term as we can get."
Mr Clarke said he could not "preempt" what Ms Truss will announce at 11.30am but "community consent" will be "at the heart of our energy policy".
The Government will not resort to energy rationing this winter, Simon Clarke has said.
The Levelling Up Secretary said the Government will "encourage people to act sensibly" but will not restrict energy usage.
He told Times Radio: "We’re not talking about introducing any form of energy rationing. Good sense, and good, good housekeeping is clearly sensible, and there’s still an economic driver for that.
"I mean, bills are still high, let’s be clear, this is not going to be a comfortable time, even with the intervention that the Government is going to make.
"So we are absolutely going to encourage people to act sensibly. But nor are we going to go down the route of some countries, nor do we need to frankly to ration usage."
We are expecting Liz Truss to be on her feet in the House of Commons at approximately 11.30am.
The Commons kicked off this morning at 9.30am with environment, food and rural affairs questions. There will then be the business statement – setting out what is happening in the Commons next week and beyond – just after 10.30am.
The business statement usually lasts about an hour so Ms Truss should kick off the debate on energy costs at about 11.30am.
Labour wants the Government to use an extended windfall tax on the excess profits of energy firms to fund the energy bills support package. But how much would such a measure actually generate?
Ed Miliband, the shadow climate change secretary, claimed this morning that it would bring in "tens of billions of pounds".
He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “We are confident that tens of billions of pounds could be raised and let me explain why. We said for the six month period where we originally proposed the principle of the freeze, we could raise £8 billion.
“We know that there are these Treasury estimates out there about the scale of excess profits right across the energy generating firms and we believe it is the right and fair thing to do.”
Simon Clarke, the Levelling Up Secretary, has said the Government’s emergency energy support package is designed to provide families with certainty for the "medium term".
He told the BBC: “We are not looking here at sticking plaster solutions. We want a lasting settlement that provides both comfort and clarity for both households and businesses.
“This is a major attempt to draw a line and provide energy certainty for everybody in this country about energy usage in the medium term.”
Martin Lewis, the founder of the Money Saving Expert website, has welcomed Liz Truss’s plan to freeze energy bills.
He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that he had long been calling for action and for politicians to show the “political will to do something”.
He said: “Well, I think we do now have the political will and I very much welcome the plans that are being rumoured to come out today. They are not perfect, then again I have not seen any solution that is perfect, they are not a panacea.
“But they will mean that millions if not tens of millions of people will breathe a sigh of relief that they will be able to afford their energy bills this winter. But clearly there will need to be some further work done looking at the very poorest in society to make sure that they can get through this.”
We know that Liz Truss is planning to announce some help on energy bills for businesses today but we don’t yet know what the measures will actually be.
Martin McTague, the national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, this morning called for the Government to fix the price per unit of energy for small firms to help them survive the winter.
He told Sky News: “I’ve been in business for 35 years and this is about as bad as I’ve ever seen it. There are businesses literally hanging on by their fingernails.
“The cash is running out. They know that in October something like 60 per cent of businesses are faced with renewing their energy contracts, and for many of them that will be a disastrous new contract. The urgency of this can’t be overstated.
“What we’re hoping we see is that the price per unit of energy will be fixed and any of the shortfall will be picked up by Government borrowing.”
Simon Clarke, the Levelling Up Secretary, has rejected Labour’s calls for an extended windfall tax on the excess profits of oil and gas companies to help fund the Government’s emergency energy support package.
Mr Clarke told LBC Radio: “These firms are the people we are going to be absolutely relying on to deliver that next generation of oil and gas extraction on the route to energy self-sufficiency.
“We need to go much, much further in getting new fields on line. That is why we need these companies to be ploughing that investment into the North Sea.
“We cannot do what Labour would do, which is just tax, tax, tax.”
Liz Truss told MPs at PMQs yesterday that she is against windfall taxes and will not be expanding the one which is already in place on energy firms to help pay for her plan to freeze energy bills. The Government will borrow the cash instead.
Labour is adamant that the Government should opt for a windfall tax on excess profits instead of borrowing to pay for the plan and Ed Miliband this morning said the Prime Minister’s decision not to go down the windfall tax route has been made “purely on the basis of dogma”.
Ms Truss has argued that windfall taxes could harm investment in the UK but Mr Miliband labelled that "completely bogus".
He told the BBC: "This is a dogma, and I’m afraid we see a pattern here. This is a shift to the right by the Conservative Party under Liz Truss. Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak actually eventually ended up agreeing with our idea of a windfall tax. Now we have a government that is setting its face against it purely on the basis of dogma.”
Ed Miliband, Labour’s shadow climate change secretary, has warned the UK must not enter into long-term fixed-price contracts with energy suppliers as he said the deals would "lock in” massive profits for electricity companies for years to come.
He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “This is a proposal from Energy UK, and let’s be clear about this proposal: This would lock in massive windfall profits for these electricity generators.
“Let me explain why: what Energy UK have said is we’ll accept slightly lower prices now, so we can have much higher prices over the following 15 years. This would be a terrible deal for the British people, a terrible deal for billpayers.
“It is much better – if there are these unexpected windfalls, and there are – the right thing to do, the fair thing to do, is not to do some dodgy deal with these companies, but to do a windfall tax.”
Liz Truss is expected to announce that she is ditching the ban on fracking in England and wants to see a lot more drilling for gas in the North Sea.
That has inevitably prompted questions about the new Government’s commitment to hitting the target of net zero emissions by 2050.
Simon Clarke, the Levelling Up Secretary, made clear this morning that the target does remain firmly in place. Asked if the target still stands, he told Sky News: “Well, we are absolutely clear that net zero, as I say, sits at the heart of our policies. We have got to use gas as a transition fuel.”
Asked if the target will still be hit by 2050, Mr Clarke said: "Yeah, by 2050, absolutely. There is no resiling from that commitment.”
Borrowing the money to pay for the energy bills freeze will pile tens of billions of pounds onto an already significant government debt mountain: Public sector net debt continues to climb above £2 trillion.
Simon Clarke, the Levelling Up Secretary, said he believes current debt levels are "perfectly sustainable" as he said the Government "cannot fail to respond to the magnitude of the moment" as energy prices continue to surge.
He told Sky News: “Well, if you look at the UK’s most recent round of debt issuance, that was well-covered, there was much more demand for our debt than was needed to cover the latest auction.
“We are paying around three per cent for our debt. That is a perfectly sustainable level. The UK is obviously a very stable, very strong economy, subject to a very clear regulatory system and the rule of law. We are a safe bet and a safe haven as we always are, frankly, in these kind of situations.
“The Government is clear that a fiscally responsible approach sits at the heart of our plans.
“But we cannot fail to respond to the magnitude of the moment. Liz Truss is clear that as Prime Minister her first priority this week is to provide that certainty and I think this is something which, notwithstanding the fact it is difficult, it is bold, it is brave, we have to do because the country can’t really think about anything else until we have done this.”
Liz Truss’s energy bills plan could cost more than £150 billion and will largely be funded by new government borrowing. The scale of the expected intervention has spooked the financial markets.
But Simon Clarke, the Levelling Up Secretary, has said the Government must act on such a scale now because failing to freeze bills would result in "enormous economic damage".
He told Sky News: “Well, we all obviously would never want to find ourselves in this situation and there is no question that this is the latest in a series of quite extraordinary interventions that the Government has had to make to support families which obviously reflect our absolute determination to do the right thing for the British people.
“But let’s be clear, if we fail to act, if we don’t protect the economy against the shock of the size and scale that we are talking about then there is going to be enormous economic damage in any event.
“So the hardship that the, not just the October price cap but the forecast January and then April iterations would cause, would be enormous.”
We already have a pretty good idea of what Liz Truss will announce later this morning:
You can read a full run down of what is expected here.
Good morning and welcome to today’s politics live blog.
Liz Truss will head to the House of Commons just before lunchtime to announce her plan to freeze energy bills and to boost the UK’s energy supply.
The Prime Minister has only been in No 10 for two days but today’s announcement could well prove to be the defining moment of her premiership.
I will be on hand to guide you through the key developments.
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