Truss hands energy lifeline to millions as she sets deadline for unveiling new help as PM

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The Tory leadership frontrunner said she would act “immediately” if she was announced as the next Prime Minister tomorrow. Last month it was announced average energy bills would increase by 80 percent in October to an eye-watering £3,549 a year.

Throughout the summer the Foreign Secretary has vowed to help ease the burden by reducing taxes on households by reversing the National Insurance hike and considering slashing VAT.

However, she has come under intense pressure to go further and announce further intervention to help those struggling to keep the heating on this winter.

Speaking on the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg this morning, Ms Truss said: “If I’m elected as Prime Minister, within one week, I will make sure there is an announcement on how we are going to deal with the issue of energy bills and long-term supply to put this country on the right footing for winter.”

She added: “Businesses are also concerned about their energy bills and the impact it could have on all their futures.

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“What I want to reassure people is I will act if elected as Prime Minister within one week.”

The South West Norfolk MP refused to be drawn on exactly what help she would outline, saying the outcome of the Tory leadership contest was still to be confirmed.

“We still don’t know the outcome of this contest,” she said.

“I’m not going to go into details about what an announcement would be before because I think it would be wrong to do that.”

Repeatedly pressed on what form that action would take, Ms Truss added: “Before you have been elected as Prime Minister, you don’t have all the wherewithal to get the things done.

“So, this is why it will take a week to sort out the precise plans and make sure we are able to announce them.

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“That is why I cannot go into details at this stage. It would be wrong. But what I want to be very clear about with the public is I understand that this is a huge problem.

“I understand people are worried and I want to reassure people that I am absolutely determined to sort out this issue as well as within a month, present a full plan for how we are going to reduce taxes, how we’re going to get the British economy going, and how we are going to find our way out of these very difficult times.”

The next Conservative leader will be announced at 12.30pm tomorrow before then taking over from Boris Johnson on Tuesday.

Polling suggests Ms Truss is the clear favourite to beat her rival Rishi Sunak.

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The latest tracker poll suggests 64 percent of Conservative members support Ms Truss compared to the 36 percent who back Mr Sunak.

Voting in the contest closed at 5pm on Friday.

A TechneUK survey conducted the week before on individual policy areas also showed that Ms Truss leads Mr Sunak in every category.

She leads her rival by 41 points on taxes, 40 on inflation and 37 on immigration and even in the areas where the margins are narrowest – civil rights and Brexit – Ms Truss has a clear lead of seven points and 12 points respectively.

As well as pledging quick help on reducing energy costs, the current Foreign Secretary this morning also vowed to take action to improve the UK’s long term energy security.

She criticised previous Governments for leaving the UK dependent on other countries for its energy supply.

The UK imports around 50 percent of its gas from the international market according to the Office of National Statistics.

“The reality is, is that we haven’t done as much as we should have done as a country to protect our energy security,” she said.

“It’s important that we develop renewables, we develop nuclear, that we work with our European partners to develop alternative forms of energy.

“It’s also very important we use the resources in the North Sea.

“There’s more we can do to exploit current gas bills in parts of the United Kingdom.”

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