Cost of living crisis: Chancellor to hold crisis talks with gas and electricity bosses

Energy sector bosses will take part in crisis talks with Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng as the price cap was forecast to hit more than £4,200 in January.

In a new dire outlook for households, Cornwall Insight said bills are set to soar to around £3,582 in October, from £1,971 on Tuesday, before rising even further in the new year.

There has been widespread anger at Shell, BP and British Gas owner Centrica announcing bumper financial results while households struggle to cope with soaring bills.

The Sun reported gas and electricity executives will meet with the Cabinet ministers on Thursday morning, when the bosses will be asked to submit a breakdown of expected profits and payouts as well as investment plans for the next three years.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Nadhim Zahawi speaking at the Financial and Professional Services Dinner at Mansion House in the City of London. Picture date: Tuesday July 19, 2022.

Education Secretary James Cleverly said the Chancellor and Business Secretary were “calling in” the leaders of the big energy companies to “knock some heads together”.

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He told Good Morning Britain (GMB): “The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Nadhim Zahawi) and the Business Secretary (Kwasi Kwarteng) are actually calling in the leaders of those big energy companies to knock some heads together and basically hold them to account about what they’re going to do with those profits.

“The increase in energy costs has been driven by the war in Ukraine and a global crunch, this is affecting everyone pretty much across the world, everyone in the developing world is seeing those energy bills go up. What we need to do is make sure that we have a short, medium and long term plan, so the Chancellor and the Business Secretary are getting those energy companies in as part of the short-term response.”

He added: “Our system means that once the Prime Minister has said he is going to stand down there is a well-established principle which is that an outgoing Prime Minister should not make very big policy-changing decisions.

“I’m supporting Liz Truss, as you know she’s made it very, very clear that she will be bringing forward an emergency budget. She’s already announced that she’s going to lift some of those … green levies temporarily, to ease the cost.”

It comes as Liz Truss branded as “bizarre” proposals to agree support for rising energy bills with the Government and Rishi Sunak before the Tory leadership contest is over.

The front runner in the race to succeed Boris Johnson as prime minister made the comments as she and her opponent faced growing calls to spell out how they will deal with a spike in energy prices.

Tory MP Theresa Villiers, who is backing Rishi Sunak in the leadership race, has said “no government can insulate everyone” from the rising cost of energy, but that Mr Sunak “certainly recognises that we need to do more”.

Ms Villiers told Sky News: “Rishi’s determined, if he’s PM, to do as much as he can to help people through what is a crisis around the world with energy bills.

The Government has already promised £400 to every household and extra help for the more vulnerable.

On Monday, Scotland’s First Minister called on Mr Johnson to move a proposed meeting between the heads of the UK’s governments from September to this week to address the cost-of-living crisis.