By Alex Glenn • 20 September 2021 • 11:38
Brits may face multi-billion Credit: Pixabay
Brits may face multi-billion pound bill to bail out energy firms as warnings are raised that the gas crisis could return. Experts have even suggested that a three-day week could return to the UK, to prevent blackouts of crucial services.
Brits could be facing a crisis this winter and so far ministers have not ruled out stepping in and helping out suppliers.
Foreign office minister James Cleverly said that the government will do everything they can to “protect consumers” and that they hope that energy firms will be able to “stay afloat organically through their own efforts”.
However, when questioned on the issue, he did not rule out a bailout for the sector.
Mr Cleverly commented that: “The priority is to make sure that we protect provision for consumers and ensure they aren’t hit by a significant increase in gas prices.
“Those discussions will be ongoing. Exactly how we do that will be up for discussion of course, but those are our priorities.”
At the moment Boris Johnson is in New York attending the UN General Assembly. He hopes that the problems faced by energy companies will be temporary and said: “People should be reassured in the sense there are a lot of short-term problems around the world caused by gas supplies and shortages.
“This is really a function of the world economy waking up after Covid. It’s like everybody going back to put the kettle on at the end of a TV programme.
“You’re seeing huge stresses on the world supply systems. We’ve got to try and fix it as fast as we can. We’ll have to do everything we can.
“But this will get better as the market starts to sort itself out, as the world economy gets back on its feet.”
One expert for the Institute for Economic Affairs think tank has said that the poorest households should be protected.
Julian Jessop said: “The poorest households should be protected from soaring bills, but the taxpayer should not be expected to write a blank cheque to bail out energy companies.
“Market forces need to be allowed to work and if this means that relative prices have to change to balance supply and demand, then so be it.
“There may be a case for government loans to fundamentally sound businesses which are facing temporary problems as a result of global shortages.
“However, these companies should still be expected to borrow on commercial terms.
“Otherwise, there is a risk that the industry fails to adapt and that it remains vulnerable to further shocks.”
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Originally from the UK, Alex is based in Almeria and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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