Chancellor Rishi Sunak has dampened yesterday’s hopes that the government will rescue struggling businesses facing soaring energy prices.
Without going into specifics, he said that he believes in a market economy and that it is “not the government’s job to come in and start managing the price of every individual product.”
His comments to Sky News are in line with reports that Sunak will apply stringent value for money tests to any potential gas bailouts, in order to protect taxpayer funds.
Meanwhile, energy firm Daligas has ceased trading.
The challenger company was only responsible for 10,000 customers but it is the third energy supplier to close down in the past two days alone.
Its collapse follows the demise of PurePlanet and Colorado Energy earlier this week.
Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has been pushing for the government to step in and provide emergency loans under special terms to struggling utilities and businesses feeling the bite from rising wholesale energy costs this winter.
It was anticipated that the government would announce a loan scheme later this week but the Chancellor’s comments mean businesses could be left in the lurch.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has called on ministers to end their “squabbling” and step in to support key utilities such as the steel industry.
He accused the government of being “missing action”
Speaking during a visit to a steel mill in Sheffield, he said: “At the moment the Government is sitting back and saying this is somebody else’s problem.”
He added that it would be “unforgivable” if the short-term spike in energy prices led to long-term job losses.
As many as seven other energy firms are rumoured to be on the brink including Neon Reef, Ampower and Zebra Energy.
The BBC has also revealed that Glencore-backed gas shipper CNG Energy is preparing its wholesale business for an insolvency process.
It is believed to ship gas to around 15 suppliers in the UK.