The Daily Telegraph

Energy bills to be frozen until the next election

Truss to outline her vision for office with support for households lasting two years

- By Ben Riley-smith Political Editor

‘During this leadership campaign, I campaigned as a Conservati­ve and I will govern as a Conservati­ve’

ENERGY bills would be frozen until 2024, when the next general election is expected, under plans being considered by Liz Truss, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

The Foreign Secretary will become Prime Minister today, replacing Boris Johnson, after winning the Tory leadership race.

Following a visit to Balmoral to kiss hands, Ms Truss will give a speech on the steps of No10 to outline her vision for her premiershi­p as well as setting out her agenda for her first 100 days.

A package of support on energy bills is due to be revealed as early as Thursday, followed within weeks by a formal announceme­nt of tax cuts and a plan to clear the NHS backlog.

The Telegraph understand­s that among the moves to tackle the cost of living crisis set to be unveiled this week, Ms Truss could freeze energy bills for all households until 2024.

The “huge” policy interventi­on would last longer and cost tens of billions of pounds more than the Labour Party’s proposal to cap prices at current levels until early 2023.

In her victory speech yesterday, Ms Truss appeared to rule out an early general election. She said: “We will deliver a great victory for the Conservati­ve Party in 2024.”

Ms Truss clinched the Tory leadership yesterday with a narrower than expected victory over Rishi Sunak, winning 57.4 per cent of the members’ vote to his 42.6 per cent.

It is the slimmest margin of victory in a Tory leadership race since members were given the final say in 2001.

Cabinet appointmen­ts will be announced this evening, with half a dozen of Ms Truss’s most loyal supporters, largely on the party’s Right, expected to be given the most senior roles.

Mr Johnson will bring his three years in office to an end with a speech in Downing Street at around 7.30am, brought forward an hour because of the possibilit­y of rain.

He will then visit the Queen at Balmoral to step down. Ms Truss will follow him in to become the country’s third female prime minister, before flying back to London and delivering her speech to the nation at around 4pm.

Ms Truss gave an indication of her approach as she delivered a short speech in front of Conservati­ve MPS and activists after her leadership victory was announced.

She said: “During this leadership campaign, I campaigned as a Conservati­ve and I will govern as a Conservati­ve.

“My friends, we need to show that we will deliver over the next two years. I will deliver a bold plan to cut taxes and grow our economy.

“I will deliver on the energy crisis dealing with people’s energy bills, but also dealing with the long-term issues we have on energy supply. And I will deliver on the National Health Service.”

Later she added: “My friends, I know that we will deliver, we will deliver, we will deliver.”

Ms Truss’s first policy announceme­nt will be what campaign figures have called a “twin” package of measures to provide help for households with soaring energy bills, as well as reform of energy supply.

While the Truss campaign continued to stay silent in public yesterday about the measures, details are emerging about options being considered.

Ms Truss is leaning towards her energy bills freeze applying to all 28 million households in the country rather than offering means tested support, according to multiple campaign and Treasury sources.

One government figure familiar with policy discussion­s said the interventi­on would be “huge” and that the campaign wanted a “simple” solution.

Kwasi Kwarteng, who is expected to be appointed chancellor today, hinted at a two-year interventi­on in an article for the Financial Times, saying that the package would help businesses and families “through this winter and the next”.

Freezing the price cap would mean that annual energy bills for the average household would remain at £1,971, instead of jumping to £3,549 as planned next month.

The overall package could cost the Treasury up to £100 billion. The money

could be provided to energy companies as a loan, and industry bosses are understood to have suggested that this be repaid via a levy on household bills after the crisis has passed. However, this would mean household bills would not fall back in future as quickly as they otherwise would have done.

Truss campaign figures insist final decisions are yet to be taken, with discussion­s continuing this week.

Keeping prices fixed for both this winter and next would reflect the belief of the Truss campaign that energy bills will remain unusually high into 2024.

Critics of Labour’s plan to freeze bills until next spring have argued the policy is flawed as the price cap would simply jump at that point.

Ms Truss’s proposed move would also protect households from a rise in energy bills for much of the period until the next general election.

Eight in 10 voters want a bills freeze, according to some opinion polls.

Ms Truss’s energy plan will also include help for businesses. Campaign figures have said the issue is not as simple

‘She is a talented politician who has got to the top through hard work and determinat­ion’

as that with households, since the price cap does not apply to companies.

Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, warned his MPS not to “underestim­ate” Ms Truss, saying: “She is a talented politician who has got to the top through hard work and determinat­ion.”

 ?? ?? Liz Truss, with her husband, Hugh O’leary, at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London, as she was announced as the new Conservati­ve leader
Liz Truss, with her husband, Hugh O’leary, at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London, as she was announced as the new Conservati­ve leader

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