Liz Truss has promised the UK will not ration energy, but warned “we cannot jeopardise our security” for the sake of keeping costs down.
The prime minister said she supports energy efficiency measures, but will not be encouraging people to use less energy this winter like other countries – such as Germany – have done.
After winning the Tory leadership race on 5 September, Ms Truss outlined her plans to deal with soaring energy bills, including an energy price guarantee to limit how much suppliers can charge for each unit of energy.
Green levies will also be removed from bills, and the government will pay for both measures by borrowing.
Speaking on her way to New York for a United Nations General Assembly (Unga) on Tuesday, Ms Truss said: “We are not talking about [the] rationing of energy.”
She added that she supported her predecessor Boris Johnson’s view that higher energy bills for standing up to Russia over Ukraine was a price worth paying.
“It’s right that we cannot jeopardise our security for the sake of cheap energy,” the PM said.
“That is the mistake the entire Western world made,” she added. “It was becoming too dependent on authoritarian regimes, not just for energy supplies, but also for other critical minerals and other goods and so on.
“What we can’t allow to happen is for that cost to go on the bills of people in the UK.”
She added: “We are going to put in place an energy price guarantee to make sure people are able to get through this winter and next winter without those very high bills that we feared.”
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The PM has made it her mission in New York to get other countries on board to continue supporting Ukraine in its attempt to combat the Russian invasion.
She said the “number one issue is global security”, but reiterated that she did not want to pass the buck on to the British people.
“It is a price worth paying for Britain because our long term security is paramount,” the PM added.
“What I don’t want to happen is for that to be passed on to bill payers beyond that energy price guarantee that I have outlined. I don’t think that’s right.”
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Attacking previous administrations, Ms Truss said there should have been “more investment 20 years ago in nuclear power, for example”.
“That’s why we do need to make sure we are guaranteeing people are not paying fuel bills that are unaffordable,” she said.