Nadhim Zahawi has said nobody should be cut off in the winter if they’re unable to pay their bills.
Speaking on Sky News this morning during his tour to the United States, the chancellor accused Russia’s President Vladimir Putin of using energy “as a weapon”.
Zahawi, who met his opposite number in Washington D.C. yesterday, said he was “deeply concerned” about the impending energy crisis but refused to be drawn on specific details about direct help for SMEs and households.
This comes as inflation is set to soar to upwards of 20 per cent, with the energy price cap being raised by more than 80 per cent last week, plunging millions into fuel poverty.
He said “more help is on the way” in addition to the £37bn of support currently set aside by the government as e warned of the “scarring effect” on the economy if firms don’t get the support they deserve.
The Chancellor said “nobody should be cut off” from energy if they couldn’t pay their bills, and that “I’m working with the companies to ensure people who really are struggling” to make sure this doesn’t happen.
He accused Russia’s president Putin of using energy as a weapon, cutting off supplies to Europe while its state-backed energy firm Gazprom announced £8.6bn profits yesterday.
“We need to send a message to Mr Putin that this strategy is not going to work”, he said; committing to continue supporting Ukraine. while adding that withdrawing support would have a detrimental long-term impact.
Asked about his plans for energy security, he said it “very much includes nuclear” with “lots of investment in offshore wind”, while he hinted there were two schemes in place depending on whether his favoured candidate or Sunak get into power.