Government must act now to support energy intensive businesses and protect families from winter blackouts

Government must act now to support energy intensive businesses and protect families from winter blackouts

This week in Parliament, Judith called on the Government to take immediate action to protect families and businesses from skyrocketing energy costs. Recent reports have warned that millions of families face blackouts this winter, while some businesses have seen a five-fold increase in their energy bills. Unlike consumers, business energy costs are not subject to an energy price cap.

Speaking in Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy questions, Judith said:

“Two weeks ago, we found out that we have a huge surplus of natural gas but nowhere to store it, followed shortly by an announcement that as many as six million households will face power cuts this winter because of gas shortages.

Can the minister give a guarantee here today that this Government can keep the lights on for both households and for industry this winter? A business in my constituency told me that their energy bills have soared from £7 million to £35 million – so what support is the government giving to energy intensive industries?”

Responding, Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Minister Greg Hands MP said the “Government is actively looking at storage” but that “the scenario she painted is an extreme scenario.”

Commenting afterwards, Judith said:

“The Minister said the scenario of skyrocketing energy costs I gave ‘was extreme’, but in fact it is the everyday reality for thousands of businesses and millions of families up and down the country who are worried about their jobs and their homes. These are real jobs in a real company and government should be able to answer a straightforward question for those key industries.”

Judith added:

“Hearing that ample gas supply is arriving at our ports only to be turned away due to lack of storage while energy bills are through the roof is nothing short of a disgrace. Last autumn, I raised our lack of gas storage and self-sufficiency directly with the Secretary of State and he reassured me that “the reason we are less reliant on storage is we have a wider source of energy supply”. Now, this has proved insufficient, the Government should have listened and acted on my concerns at that time. We need to urgently bolster the country’s strategic gas reserves while offering meaningful support to our energy intensive industries.

UK Labour Party