Chancellor Rishi Sunak blames typo for ‘winter caused energy crisis’ false claim


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Tory Chancellor Rish Sunak does U-turn and admits spiraling energy bills are NOT down to winter weather being colder than usual in a newspaper column he wrote

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak
Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been forced to do an embarrassing U-turn

Rishi Sunak has been forced into a U-turn after spouting hot air over the energy crisis.

The Chancellor’s aides blamed a “typo” in a national newspaper column he wrote saying a colder than usual winter was one cause of imminent bill hikes. In fact this winter is warmer than usual.

Mr Sunak, the wealthiest member of Boris Johnson’s Cabinet, used his self-penned article to try to distance the Tories from the power crisis.

He wrote: “There are a few factors causing energy prices to rise so dramatically and unfortunately they are mostly out of the Government’s control. One is the steep rise in demand for gas in places such as China, which has pushed up global prices.

“Another is the fact that we have had a colder than usual winter so we have used up more of our own stores of gas here at home.”

His team claim the typo was on the “colder winter” phrase.

Andy Prendergast of the GMB union

A web version of the column was changed after weather experts rubbed the claim. The Met Office said this winter’s temperature averages 5.12C so far – 1.03C warmer than over the three decades to 2020.

And Aurora Energy Research commodities head Anise Ganbold said: “On average, gas demand is 7% below the past four winters.”

The GMB union’s national secretary Andy Prendergast last night said: “Rishi Sunak is either hopelessly out of touch or deliberately misleading people.

“We all know it’s a mild winter. The Chancellor needs to spend more time worrying about gas and less time gaslighting the nation.”

Mr Sunak also wrote in his article that the factors he listed meant “on average, people will be seeing their energy bills rise by £693”.

The increase will start in April after the cap on energy prices was raised 54% by regulator Ofgem. Mr Sunak this week offered consumers £200 off their bills from October in what was touted as a Government goodwill gesture.

But it emerged the deal is simply a “buy now pay later” style loan that hard-pressed families must pay back over two years.

Households in council tax bands A to D will get a one-off £150 rebate in April. Charities say it is not enough and is not targeted at those who need it most.

A Treasury spokesman said: “As the Chancellor set out, the reasons gas prices are soaring are global.

“No country in western Europe has been unaffected by the unprecedented wholesale gas volatility. It is incorrect to suggest the UK is uniquely exposed to it.”

Former Labor leader Ed Miliband
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Image:

PhilHarris)

Ex-Labour leader Ed Miliband branded Mr Sunak’s response to the energy price crisis “inadequate”. He said: “The Chancel-
lor should have adopted Labour’s plan for a windfall tax on oil and gas producers to help fund a support package for families.

“Instead he chose to side with those companies making billions, not the millions facing hardship this winter.”

Annual profits at energy giant Shell rose to £12.5billion. BP is expected next week to report a profit of almost £9.6 billion.

In 2017 the Rough gas storage facility in the North Sea – Britain’s biggest – was shut down because the Conservatives refused to subsidize repairs. Now the nation has storage for only 2% of need, leaving us reliable on supplies from Europe and Russia. Mr Sunak did not mention that the Tories were alerted at the time that closing Rough could lead to a power crisis.

Amid rising fears over energy, the Bank of England has warned of a dramatic fall in living standards – with take-home pay suffering the biggest hit on record and inflation expected to top 7% in April.

The gap between pay and living costs is growing due to soaring prices for energy, food and petrol, TUC analysis shows.

Pay growth is down to 3.8% on average, it was found – with key workers who kept the UK going in the pandemic, such as transport and retail staff, even worse off.

It said low pay will reduce consumer spending and further weaken the fragile economy, adding: “Britain needs a pay rise.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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