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Boris Johnson asks energy companies to ‘cut’ costs

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THE high-level crisis meeting between Boris Johnson and UK energy firms ended with no new measures in place.

Although Chancellor Nahdim Zahawi has warned businesses that the government continues to assess the extraordinary profits seen in parts of the power generation sector,” the outgoing Conservative leader made it clear that it would be up to the next Prime Minister to make important budget decisions.

Earlier today, new analysis from energy consultant Auxilione warned that bills could reach 5,000 a year by next April.

Nicola Sturgeon has warned families across Scotland simply won’t be able to pay.

Without urgent action, she said, “we are going to see, no doubt, loss of life.”

Mr Johnson – who has just three weeks left in his term – unexpectedly joined the crisis meeting with Mr Zahawi and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.

Companies such as EDF, SSE, ScottishPower and British Gas owners Centrica were among the participants.

However, there were no representatives from energy giants BP or Shell. They have both made billions in profits this year, thanks in part to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking after the meeting, the Chancellor said that in a spirit of national unity, the energy companies present had agreed to do more to help those who need it most.

But there were few details about what that might mean.

In his statement, the Prime Minister said winter was going to be tough for people in the UK.

He added: Following our meeting today, we will continue to urge the electricity sector to continue working on ways to alleviate cost of living pressures and to invest more and faster in British energy security.

We are continuing to roll out government support over the coming months, including the second installment of £324 of the cost of living allowance for vulnerable households, additional help for pensioners and people with disabilities, and the £400 rebate on bills energy for all households.

Speaking earlier, Ms Sturgeon warned that without immediate help people would die.

She told Bauer radio: “People are really struggling to pay their monthly bills to heat their homes – which, as winter approaches, will be an increasing concern – and to feed their children.

“When we look at what should happen with energy costs, it’s not just a situation where families feel rushed and have to tighten their belts to cope with higher bills, there will be a lot , a lot of families who just can’t pay those bills because they can’t afford to.”

The prime minister said the upcoming energy price hike should be reversed and branded a profit bonanza. She also said VAT on fuel “should be scrapped”.

Ms Sturgeon also said the UK government should consider borrowing more “to bring money to those who need it most”.

She said the “scale and gravity of the emergency we are facing” was on a similar scale to the Covid pandemic.

“If it’s not addressed with serious urgent action, we’re going to see increased debt provisioning, suffering, we’re going to see, no doubt, loss of life.”

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