Tory frontrunner warns UK to face ‘tough winter’ — Analysis

Liz Truss has promised to implement economic reforms in order to assist people affected by the rising fuel prices and high food costs

Britain is facing a “It was a tough winter” amid growing fuel and food prices, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss admitted on Friday, adding that “business as usual policies aren’t working” and thus special measures should be taken to prevent a recession.

Sky News interviewed the Tory leader hopeful about the growing energy crisis. This has been made worse by anti-Russian sanctions and the decrease in Russian natural gaz supplies to Europe. Although the UK does not depend on Moscow directly for its fuel supply, it still suffers from rising energy costs and higher living expenses.

“I know it’s going to be a tough winter, I want to do all I can to make sure we are releasing the reserves in the North Sea of gas,” said Truss, who currently serves as foreign secretary.

The energy and cost-of-living crisis in the UK continues to intensify, with annual household bills expected to surpass £3,300 ($3,971) this winter, according to energy consultant Cornwall Insight. The Times reports Sunday that six million British households may be affected by power outages this winter, due to a cut in Russian gas supplies to Europe.

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Truss promised to temporarily suspend the green energy tax levy in order to help Brits pay their fuel bills.

Business as usual policies aren’t working, we need to do more and that’s why I am determined to reform the economy and to keep taxes low,” Truss, who earlier pledged £30 billion in tax cuts, explained.

Among other priorities, she discussed lowering the cost of national insurance which, in her opinion, would “put more money in people’s pockets.”

Truss’s competitor, former UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak, has been criticizing her fiscal approach. He claims that the proposed tax cuts could lead to inflation becoming entrenched, which would “be incredibly damaging for millions across the UK.”

After a vote by around 150,000 Tory members, the winner of this leadership race will finally be declared on September 5.

EU officials also have to be concerned about winter. Earlier this week, the bloc’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, warned that the EU may run out of gas during the upcoming cold season.

Europe faces a storm. Energy prices have risen, growth has slowed and winter is on the horizon.” he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has rejected Western accusations that Moscow could cut off gas supplies to the EU, stating that Russian energy giant Gazprom was “Ready to pump whatever amount is necessary” but that the bloc had “Everything was closed by them.” He previously called its sanctions on Russia “insane and thoughtless,” and accused EU leaders of committing economic “suicide” under orders from the US.

British customers were already seeing dramatic increases in their energy bills even before the Russia-Ukraine war. In April, Ofgem implemented a price cap that was announced in February by regulators. This marked an increase of 54% over the prior rate.

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