Liz Truss cabinet reshuffle: Who’s in and who’s out?
Liz Truss’s plan to ease the cost of living crisis without taxing energy firms could saddle Britons with debt for decades, opposition parties warned as the pound slid to a 37 year low against the dollar.
Financial markets have been rattled by the new prime minister’s decision to borrow to pay the £100bn-plus needed to cap energy costs, instead of taking a slice of the bumper profits registered by oil and gas giants.
The PM’s energy plan, which she will unveil in a statement to the Commons on Thursday, will freeze average bills at a level of around £2,500 by setting a cap on the price of a unit of energy, with anything above paid by the government.
Sir Keir Starmer warned Ms Truss would force taxpayers to “foot the bill” for her reported plans to freeze rocketing energy bills, dubbed a decades-long “Truss tax” by the SNP’s Ian Blackford.
Despite fears she was ditching party unity in favour of a “cabinet of cronies” upon entering No 10, one incoming minister told The Times: “I doubt she’ll last two years.”
Truss to ‘ditch fracking ban’ as she reveals cost of living support
Liz Truss is reportedly set to announce she is scrapping the ban on fracking as she unveils her long-awaited plan to guard Britons against crippling costs while boosting the country’s energy security.
The new premier is expected to tell MPs today that domestic energy bills will be frozen at around £2,500 as part of a package to ease the cost-of-living crunch – said to cost up to £150 billion.
Ms Truss will also declare she is lifting the moratorium on fracking, according to reports, with potential for the change to be implemented at pace.
She is tipped to follow through on her leadership vow to end opposition to fracking in places where it is backed by local communities.
Fracking, which involves extracting shale gas from rocks by breaking them up with water and chemicals at high pressure, was banned in 2019 after the country’s oil and gas authority said it was not possible to predict the magnitude of earthquakes it might trigger.
Stuti Mishra8 September 2022 04:31
Bank of England chief says recession still ‘likely’
The governor of the Bank of England has said he welcomed the prospect of a “clear way forward” to tackle soaring energy bills from Liz Truss (Adam Forrest writes).
The expected announcement from the new prime minister on energy bills would reassure markets, said Andrew Bailey – but warned that recession remained the “most likely outcome” for the UK economy.
Ms Truss is working to finalise a multi-billion-pound package to freeze household and businesses’ gas and electricity bills, with some estimates that it could cost over £100bn.
“I do very much welcome the fact that there will be … announcements this week because I think that will help to, in a sense, frame policy and that’s important,” Mr Bailey told MPs on the Treasury select committee.
The governor added: “It’s important that there is a clear way forward on policy … That will be important for markets to understand what is going to happen.”
‘It’s important that there is clear way forward on policy’, says governor Andrew Bailey on Liz Truss plan
Liam James8 September 2022 03:40
Levelling up secretary will take on northern brief
New levelling up secretary Simon Clarke will also serve as minister for the north, the Tory party chair said.
There was some doubt over whether Liz Truss would follow through on her reported pledge to create the position, with Labour and Cooperative MP Simon Lightwood calling for clarity earlier on Wednesday.
In a letter to the new PM, he said he hoped she had not “reneged” on her promises.
The Northern Research Group of Tory MPs previously said Ms Truss, along with other leadership contenders, had signed up to its “Northern Agenda” pledges – which included creating the ministerial role.
Jake Berry, the new party chairman, confirmed Mr Clarke had assumed the post.
Liam James8 September 2022 02:25
Therese Coffey’s Dr Dre alarm goes off during live interview
Therese Coffey endured embarrassment during her first round of interviews as the new health secretary and deputy PM when her alarm when off live on air (Adam Forrest writes).
Liz Truss’s closest ally was speaking on LBC when her phone started playing the Dr Dre hit Still Dre, featuring Snoop Dogg.
“I’m just realised that the alarm is going off on my phone – you’re getting a bit of Dr Dre,” she laughed. “It’s just an 8am alarm, sorry.”
LBC host Nick Ferrari also asked Ms Coffey about her habits and physical health, amid some criticism on social media about her suitability for her new role.
“As someone who likes a cigar, enjoys the odd noggin, and let’s be candid, you and I could possibly do with losing a pound or two … Are you the right person for the job?” the broadcaster asked.
Ms Coffey smiled responded: “I appreciate I may not be a role model … I’m sure the chief medical officer and others will continue to be role models in that regard, and I will do my best as well.”
‘It’s just an 8am alarm’, says health secretary – who is asked about ‘losing a pound or two’
Liam James8 September 2022 01:15
Rural families to be hardest hit by energy price rises, warn Lib Dems
Families in rural communities are set to be hardest hit by a “tsunami” of soaring energy costs, the Lib Dems have warned.
The party says new research suggests those in rural areas living in fuel poverty will be £450 poorer than their urban counterparts when prices rise in October.
According to the Lib Dems, the average “fuel poverty gap” – the amount needed to lift households from the fuel poor threshold – is estimated to rise to £1,050 in rural areas when the price cap goes up.
This compares to a projected £600 in urban areas.
The party is calling for the new prime minister to offer extra support with energy bills to people living in rural communities, as they risk becoming the “forgotten victims” of the cost-of-living crisis.
Liam James8 September 2022 00:02
Liz Truss’s rejection of windfall tax ‘to saddle UK with debt for decades’
Sterling plunged to its lowest level against the dollar in 37 years as experts warned Liz Truss’s plan to ease the cost of living crisis without taxing energy firms could saddle Britons with debt for decades (Andrew Woodcock writes).
Markets appeared to be rattled by the new prime minister’s decision to borrow to pay the £100bn-plus needed to keep lights and heating on this winter.
Low-pay think tank the Resolution Foundation warned the eventual cost of the energy crisis could even outstrip the £137bn bailout of banks following the 2008 financial crash.
The PM’s plan, which she will unveil in a statement to the Commons on Thursday, will freeze average bills at a level of around £2,500 by setting a cap on the price of a unit of energy, with anything above paid by the government.
Bill could be higher than cost of bank bailout after 2008 financial crash, expert warns
Liam James7 September 2022 23:05
US fires warning shot over Northern Ireland protocol
The US will be in no mood to discuss a trade deal with Britain if Liz Truss’s government undermines the Northern Ireland agreement, the White House said.
“There is a no formal linkage on trade talks between the US and the UK and the Northern Ireland protocol, as we have said, but efforts to undo the Northern Ireland protocol would not create a conducive environment,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.
On Tuesday, the White House said Joe Biden and Ms Truss “discussed their shared commitment to protecting the gains of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and the importance of reaching a negotiated agreement with the European Union on the Northern Ireland Protocol.”
Biden, who often speaks with pride of his Irish roots, has been insistent that Britain do nothing that could endanger a quarter century of peace in Northern Ireland.
As foreign secretary, Ms Truss introduced legislation to undo the Northern Ireland Protocol, which was part of Britain’s withdrawal agreement from the European Union.
Liam James7 September 2022 22:41
Long-serving Labour MP Nick Brown has whip removed
Long-serving Labour MP Nick Brown has been temporarily suspended from the party – triggering the removal of the whip, pending an investigation.
The Guardian reported that a complaint has been made against the member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne East, who served as chief whip under every Labour leader from Tony Blair onwards, the nature of which is unknown.
It is understood Mr Brown has been administratively suspended from membership of the Labour Party while an investigation is carried out.
This leads to the automatic precautionary suspension of the whip.
A statement from the MP said: “There has been a complaint made about me to the Labour Party, which is under investigation.
“I am therefore under an administrative suspension from the Labour Party until the investigation is concluded.
“I’m not aware of what the complaint is. I am cooperating fully with the investigation.”
Mr Brown has represented his Tyneside constituency since 1983 and is one of Labour’s longest serving MPs.
Liam James7 September 2022 22:02
John McDonnell calls for UK to lead international food price audit
The Government should lead an international response to speculation on rising food prices, ministers have heard.
Former shadow chancellor John McDonnell told the Commons that increases in energy and food costs “have been exacerbated by speculation in the markets” and warned against removing EU regulations enshrined in UK law to prevent against this, as the Commons debated the Financial Services and Markets Bill.
He also likened the cost-of-living crisis to the response to the 2008 financial crash where Gordon Brown brought “the world together”, adding: “I actually do now believe that we need to look at a global response to food and energy speculation that is taking place at the moment, exacerbating the cost-of-living crisis that our constituents are facing.
“In that way, I believe the government’s approach is lacking.”
He added: “If you look at what the UN has been saying at the moment, the UN special rapporteur Olivier De Schutter has said that what is happening now is people are betting on people’s hunger. That cannot be right.
“Anything that we do that undermines in any way our own national legislation which is against speculation in essential products like that, I think, is dangerous, but actually if we fail to ensure that we take up our international responsibilities, I believe that we will regret that for the future as people increasingly confront problems of hunger and starvation.”
Liam James7 September 2022 21:30
Brexit ‘opportunities’ role ditched with no replacement for Jacob Rees-Mogg
Liz Truss’s government has ditched the dedicated role of Brexit opportunities minister, confirming that Jacob Rees-Mogg would not be replaced in the job.
Mr Rees-Mogg, the former Brexit opportunities and efficiency minister, has been given a significant promotion to business secretary in the new prime minister’s first cabinet.
The PM’s official spokesperson said the mission of hunting out Brexit opportunities would now be “taken across departments”.
Handed the role by Boris Johnson in February, Mr Rees-Mogg spent six months trying to interest his colleagues in ditching EU regulations and launching attacks on the civil service over working from home.
His office listed scrapping Brussels-era regulations on vacuum cleaners as one of the “most interesting” ways to capitalise on the UK’s Brexit “freedoms” after asking tabloid readers for ideas.
Hunting down Brexit boons will be ‘taken across departments’ in Truss government
Liam James7 September 2022 21:03