‘We’re not a nanny state’ – PM blocks plan to battle blackouts

Economy Environment Policy & Politics

Britons will not be told to use less energy this winter because “we’re not a nanny state”, climate minister Graham Stuart said in response to news the UK faces blackouts this winter.

Households and businesses have been warned of rolling blackouts by the National Grid if gas imports fail to keep up with demand in the coming months.

A “reasonably well-developed plan” to encourage households to use less energy has been blocked by the prime minister’s office, according to the BBC. Objections to the public information campaign were also made by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) who have concerns “about the elderly being afraid to turn on their heating” this winter.

Stuart has denied any Downing Street intervention to block a campaign to reduce energy use and said he is “confident the government has done everything in its power” to ensure energy rationing will not be necessary.

£15m campaign to avert blackouts blocked

The climate minister also denied any plan had been prepared despite a report in the Times that business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg had signed off a £15 million public information campaign to encourage people to use less energy to avert blackouts.

Stuart’s comments come just days after reports the government has budgeted almost £1 billion to spend on advertising policies in the run-up to the general election. Prime minister Liz Truss is preparing an ad-blitz to promote her £150 billion package to cap (average) energy bills at £2,500 having reportedly told colleagues the government has not received any political credit for the plan.

When Truss was asked yesterday (October 6) about possible energy blackouts this winter, the prime minister said: “We do have a good supply of energy in the UK.”

In a series of tweets today, Truss said her government is securing the UK’s long-term energy supply and “reducing reliance on authoritarian regimes” by “accelerating our domestic energy production, including launching new North Sea oil and gas licensing round.

“We’re also speeding up deployment of renewables including hydrogen, solar and wind.”

Climate campaigners said Truss’s government is “sticking two fingers up” to scientists by extending licenses for North Sea oil and gas exploration. Stuart claims the licensing round will “be good for the environment” despite warnings from the UN and environmental experts that any new fossil fuel projects will have a devastating impact on the fight against global warming.

Truss demanded no EU flags flown at Euro leaders summit

Meanwhile, the Independent reports that Truss “demanded that no EU flags” were displayed at the meeting of European leaders, held in Prague this week.

More than 40 prime ministers and presidents of European nations met to discuss the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis. Truss stressed her attendance at the meeting was “not about moving closer to Europe” but rather to show a united front against Russian aggression.

The prime minister said the meeting of the newly formed European Political Community is “not an EU construct or an EU alternative” and added: “I am very clear about that. It brings together [44] governments from across Europe, around a third of whom are outside the EU.

“A post-Brexit Britain, as an independent country outside the EU, should be involved in discussions that affect the entire continent and all of us here at home. We are taking part as an independent sovereign nation, and we will act as one.”

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