“Greater than a troublesome winter,” warns Haag as vitality payments skyrocket | politics
Former Conservative leader William Hague said the British were facing shortages due to the gas crisis and warned that it could be a “more than delicate” winter for many families.
Economy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng also admitted that it could be “a very difficult winter” as families face rising energy bills as he tried to distance himself from the added burden of the universal credit cut.
Hague said the government needs an elite group of ministers to chair meetings every day to manage the crisis – similar to the Covid operations committee during the height of the pandemic.
“If I were in government I would say, ‘Gather an elite group of ministers in this reshaped cabinet who will meet every day’ to handle all of these problems,” he told Times Radio. “And do whatever the government has to do, but they won’t be able to do anything. Something will just be missing. “
Kwarteng confirmed that the government is considering state-backed loans to energy companies hit by rising gas prices.
“These are some of the ideas that are being discussed because it costs one company to take over hundreds of thousands of customers from another failed company. It costs money and there may well be a provision for some kind of loan, and that was discussed, ”Kwarteng told Sky News.
Kwarteng said he was committed to protecting the UK people when faced with whether the government would force people to choose between heating and eating in the face of soaring fuel costs caused by the gas crisis.
However, he said the lifting of the universal credit increase was “a matter for the Chancellor and the Minister of Labor and Pensions,” adding that he was in talks with them about the pressure.
“We are facing a global energy surge in terms of prices,” Kwarteng told BBC Breakfast. “But I said there are now mechanisms to protect consumers. I have made it very clear that the energy price cap will be maintained, even though some energy companies I read today are calling for it to be lifted.
“I made it very clear that it would stay that way, so let’s protect the customers there. We have the warm home discount, we have winter fuel payments that focus on the weakest customers again. So we are fully focused on helping vulnerable customers get through this winter – especially with regard to energy prices. “
When asked about universal credit, he said: “It is a difficult situation, it could be a very difficult winter. That’s why, as the Minister of Energy, I focus very much on helping people who are fuel-poor. As you know, universal credit is an issue for the Chancellor and the Minister of Labor and Pensions. I talk to them about it a lot. “
Kwarteng had previously hinted at a rescue package for CF Industries, the UK’s largest CO2 supplier, at Sky. He said, “We are definitely trying to secure carbon supplies. I spoke to the company’s CEO, Tony Will. He flew on Sunday. We spoke very openly about the situation.
“He said his problem is that the price of natural gas is much higher than the ammonia he sells. So what happened last week was the tools factory crashed. And I said of course we have to make this CO2. And that’s what we’ll talk about this week. It’s pretty much imminent.
“I hope we have a very clear plan to get CO2 production going again. I am very confident and hope that we can sort this out by the end of the week. “
Haag said there were other risks beyond the current crisis. “I think it could be a difficult winter, more than just a difficult one,” said the former foreign minister.
“And I think I’m one of those people who think that central banks around the world, or the US Federal Reserve, Bank of England, etc., may have underestimated the post-pandemic inflation risk.
“And on top of that, for all sorts of reasons, we see that these supply bottlenecks, as you know, because so much is going on and that there was a gas shortage and booming gas prices due to the fact that it was very windy for a few months until last winter, which lasted a long time until the Asian economies suddenly bought up the liquefied natural gas from Qatar, all of this worked together. “