UK News

Boris Johnson ‘swanning off on his jollies’ as firms grapple energy crisis

Ttalks between ministers, officials and industry chiefs took place in London while the PM jetted to Marbella

Sun-seeking Boris Johnson was accused of “swanning off on his jollies” as factories grappled with soaring energy prices.

The Prime Minister jetted to Tory crony Lord Zac Goldsmith’s luxury Costa del Sol hideaway at the weekend – despite ongoing fuel shortages in the South East, a crippling lorry driver crisis and rocketing power costs.

It is understood Lord Goldsmith and some members of his family are also on the 600-acre estate, which is up a remote, narrow country road and guarded by regional and national Spanish police.

Back in Britain, industries which are big energy consumers are feared to be just days away from shutting plants because they have become too expensive to run.

While crisis talks between ministers, officials and industry chiefs took place in London, the Tory leader was lapping up the 32C autumn sunshine in Marbella.

UK Steel director-general Gareth Stace told LBC: “I’m sure he can get on the phone and get talking to them but to my mind, now is not the time for a Prime Minister to be on holiday, from the steel sector point of view.”



Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has put an official bid into the Treasury for help for industries being hit by the rise in global gas prices.
(

Image:

BBC/AFP via Getty Images)




GMB union general secretary Gary Smith said: “Once again this Prime Minister has swanned off on his jollies while the country is in the grip of a crisis.

“Industry is on the brink of collapse while our members are desperately concerned their jobs are about to go down the pan.

“While working people worry about how they are going to pay the bills, the Prime Minister is relaxing in a luxury villa – missing in action once more.”

Industry chiefs are increasingly worried about the impact of rocketing energy costs.

British Glass chief executive Dave Dalton feared a quarter of all jobs in the industry could be under threat.

“In the glass sector alone, we have about 6,000 people directly employed and then maybe 100,000 to 120,000 downstream involved in glass installation,” he told Times Radio.

“We might find as much as a quarter of those are at the moment in the spotlight.”

Adrian Curry, managing director at drinks bottling company Encirc, said the firm had seen “huge increases” in gas and electricity costs – forcing it to pass on increases.

He feared annual energy bills would climb from £40m to £100m.



Energy bills are set to soar
(

Image:

PA)




“Without an intervention of some sort I can see a situation where it’s going to be extremely difficult for a lot of companies and it’s going to really affect supply chains going forward,” he added.

TUC boss Frances O’Grady said: “The Government must not bury its head in the sand.

“We can’t afford for factories to grind to a halt, risking jobs and livelihoods across Britain.”

Unite boss Sharon Graham said: “The country is now in the ridiculous position of contemplating factory shutdowns across viable manufacturing and businesses because we now have unsustainable energy costs to add into the storm caused by supply chain shortages.

“I call upon the Prime Minister to get and grip on this crisis and bang heads together.”

Downing Street insisted Mr Johnson “continues to be in charge as is always the case”.

His spokesman added: “The Prime Minister has been kept regularly updated on the ongoing work to address the current issues around fuel and supply chains. He is in regular contact with ministers and No10.”

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves wrote to the Chancellor demanding support for energy-intensive industries.

She said: “The Government should be protecting and supporting them through a crisis which has come about from their own lack of planning.

“They have a duty to get an immediate grip on this situation, and businesses need reassurance that this is happening.”

Sources told the Mirror the Business Department had formally requested help from the Treasury for power-hungry sectors.

A BEIS spokeswoman said: “Ministers and officials continue to engage constructively with industry to further understand and to help mitigate the impacts of high global gas prices.

“Our priority is to ensure costs are managed and supplies of energy are maintained.”

It came after a bitter spat between Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng and the Treasury.



Empty shelves in the drinks section of a branch of Tesco in Liverpool. Shoppers will start noticing shortages within days as a result of the crisis in carbon dioxide (CO2) supply
(

Image:

PA)




A Treasury source had accused the Cabinet Minister of lying after he claimed he was negotiating with Rishi Sunak over how to ease costs for manufacturers.

The PM’s spokesman said: “Ministers from (the Business Department) are working across Government, including with Treasury, on this important issue.”

Meanwhile, the Government struck a deal with the carbon dioxide industry to ensure supplies continue.

The rising price of gas forced a major CO2 producer, CF Fertilisers, to shut two UK plants last month – choking off supplies used across industries including stunning animals for slaughter, extending the shelf life of food and pumping bubbles into lager.

The Government initially stepped in for a three-week period to prop up the firm.

The deal means that until January, those who buy CO2 from CF Fertilisers will pay a set price, allowing the company to continue operating while global gas prices remain high.


Read More





Read More







Source link

Back to top button