'Can't put sticking plaster on it' Truss erupts as she confronts Starmer with failures

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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer told the Commons that “energy producers will make £170billion in excess profits over the next two years”. He added: “The Prime Minister knows she has no choice but to back an energy price freeze, but it won’t be cheap and the real choice, the political choice is who is going to pay. Is she really telling us that she is going to leave this vast excess profits on the table and make working people foot the bill for decades to come?”

Liz Truss replied that she understood people were “struggling with the cost of living” and energy bills.

She added: “That is why I as Prime Minister will take immediate action to help people with the cost of their energy bills and I will be making an announcement to this House on that tomorrow.

“We can’t just deal with today’s problem, we can’t just put a sticking plaster on it.

“What we needed to do is increase our energy supplies long-term and that is why we will open up more supply in the North Sea which the honourable gentleman has proposed, open more power stations which the Labour party didn’t do while in office and get on with delivering the supply as well as helping people through the winter.”

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The Prime Minister added she would reform the UK’s overall energy mix by building more nuclear power stations and exploring more fossil fuel supplies in the North Sea.

Ms Truss will “strain every sinew” to get the economy growing, her deputy said.

The new-look Cabinet was meeting on Wednesday morning to consider a plan to freeze energy bills in order to save households and businesses from financial ruin.

Deputy Prime Minister Therese Coffey said Ms Truss recognised the need to “hit the ground running”, with the energy plan expected to be announced in Parliament this week.

Ms Coffey defended the make-up of the top team following the cull of senior ministers loyal to former leadership contender Rishi Sunak, insisting it is “a government of all the talents that we have in this party”.

“Liz has appointed a Cabinet of a mixture of whether it’s people of her proactive supporters, people who did not support her as well,” Ms Coffey, who is also the Health Secretary, said.

The Prime Minister is expected to announce a plan to freeze domestic bills in England, Scotland and Wales at around £2,500 – some £500 higher than the current cap but £1,000 below the level they are expected to hit in October and many thousands below rises predicted over the next six months.

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The policy – which could cost as much as £150 billion according to The Times – will be funded through borrowing and general taxation and is still being finalised by Ms Truss, Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng and other ministers and officials.

Asked about the funding for the scheme, Ms Coffey told Sky News: “Ultimately, we receive money through taxation from people and businesses and then redistribute that accordingly to the priorities set out in our manifesto and the needs of the country. So more will be said about that, aspects of that during this week”.

She added people “will just have to wait for the detail of that”.

Ms Coffey said the new Cabinet “will continue to make sure that we do strain every sinew, put everything that we can in order to get our economy growing again”.



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