Energy bills: New Prime Minister Liz Truss's plan to freeze the price of gas and electricity slammed by South Tyneside MPs
Energy bills for the average household will be frozen at no more than £2,500 under plans unveiled by new Prime Minister Liz Truss.
The former Foreign Secretary, who was confirmed as the latest leader of the Conservative Party this week, has revealed details of the price cap to the House of Commons after a promise to help families cope with rising costs.
The two-year scheme is expected to save the typical household around £1,000 from October and protect billpayers from further expected rises over the coming months.
But a refusal to pay for the proposal’s estimated £250 billion price tag with a windfall tax on the record profits currently being reaped by energy firms has seen it slammed by Labour.
"This is going to be a difficult winter for so many,” said South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck, “today's announcement included no targeted support for the most vulnerable and only gives businesses short term support.
“By ruling out a windfall tax, Liz Truss, in one of her first acts as Prime Minister, has written a blank cheque to the oil and gas giants making £170 billion in excess profits, and the British people will be left to foot the entire bill.
“New PM, same old Tories.”
Last week it was confirmed that, under existing rules, the energy price cap is due to rise by 80%, to an average annual total of £3,549 from October.
As well as saving households about £1,000 each, businesses and other non-domestic users such as schools and hospitals, which have not been covered by the current price cap, a separate six-month scheme will be implemented, with targeted support for the most vulnerable firms expected later.
Downing Street has refused to put a cost on the programme, which has previously estimated to cost up to £150 billion.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman would only say the price will be “tens of billions”.
The new occupant of Downing Street has said she would not “give in” after she was accused by Labour leader Keir Starmer of being “driven by dogma” by funding the price freeze through borrowing, rather than by higher taxes on utilities firms.
Jarrow MP Kate Osborne said: “Liz Truss first move as Prime Minister fails to address the energy crisis long term or in the short term.
“These plans do not help the thousands of people who already can’t pay their bills, people who are paying twice as much for their energy bills this year than they were last year – instead they are giving yet more money to companies who have already earned excess profits of £170 billion.
“The Government are seemingly content to allow private companies to take obscene profits at the expense of working people – once again leaving the public to pick up the bill. It should not be working people paying the price for Tory chaos.
“Polling today shows that 73% of the public believe a freeze on energy bills should be paid for by taxing oil and gas companies.
“We need a freeze on energy bills, paid for by energy companies, paid for by a windfall tax – but most importantly, we need to bring our essential services back into public ownership to put a stop to private companies profiting at our expense.”