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Business Secretary fails to scotch reports of plans to scrap green levies

·2-min read
Kwasi Kwarteng (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Archive)
Kwasi Kwarteng (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Archive)

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has failed to dismiss reports that the Government is considering scrapping green levies amid Tory backbench pressure.

The Business Secretary was challenged in the House of Commons over suggestions that changes could be made to the environmental charges on bills, which are used to fund renewable energy schemes.

The Daily Telegraph was among those to report that a levy which adds £153 to the average energy bill could be scrapped in response to the cost-of-living crisis and soaring bills.

Speaking as MPs considered the Government’s energy security strategy, Green MP Caroline Lucas (Brighton Pavilion) said: “The triple test of this strategy is whether it helps cut dependence on Russian gas, whether it brings down bills, whether it secures a safe climate, and it manages to fail on all those fronts.

After all the hype and all the promises, his energy relaunch fails to live up remotely to the scale of the crisis families are facing

Ed Miliband, shadow climate change secretary

“It also has a massive hole where energy savings should be.

“But it’s been reported today that the Government is considering scrapping green levies, which as he knows support renewables and address fuel poverty and therefore help get fuel bills down.

“Can he reassure me that this rumour is false, that if any changes are to be made it would be simply about moving those levies to general taxation, or is it going to be the case that this is another policy being led by a handful of Tory backbenchers?”

Mr Kwarteng replied: “I engage with my colleagues on the frontbench and the backbench all the time and they’ve got lots of brilliant ideas.”

He went on to defend the energy security strategy.

For Labour, shadow climate change secretary Ed Miliband said: “After all the hype and all the promises, his energy relaunch fails to live up remotely to the scale of the crisis families are facing.”

Earlier, Mr Kwarteng said the strategy would “accelerate our transition away from expensive fossil fuel prices set by global markets we cannot control”.

We have achieved a five-fold increase in renewables

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng

He said: “We have achieved a five-fold increase in renewables. The British energy security strategy marks a significant acceleration in our ambition. It is confirmation of three mutually re-enforcing goals of our energy policy, indeed of any well constituted energy policy: security, affordability and sustainability.”

The Cabinet minister added: “We recognise the pressures that many people across our country are facing with the cost of living.

“This has been greatly influenced as we all know by global factors and that is why the Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced a £9 billion package of support, including a £150 council tax rebate this month and a £200 energy bill discount in October to cut energy bills quickly for the vast majority of households.”

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