UK Prime Minister Liz Truss pledges to 'deal with the energy crisis' and will scrap fracking ban

UK Prime Minister Liz Truss pledges to ‘deal with the energy crisis’ and will scrap fracking ban

Newly installed British Prime Minister Liz Truss told parliament on Wednesday she would tackle Britain’s ‘very serious’ energy crisis while cutting taxes, ruling out imposing a windfall tax on oil companies to pay for its plans to offset soaring heating and electricity costs. .

Truss pushed back against opposition calls for a new windfall tax, though she refrained from explaining how she would fund a plan to help the public pay skyrocketing energy bills due to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia and the economic aftershocks of COVID-19 and Brexit.

Communal room

In this screen capture from video, British Prime Minister Liz Truss faces Labor leader Keir Starmer, during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons, London, Wednesday, September 7, 2022. (House of Commons/AP via AP/AP Newsroom)

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She said in her first question and answer session to the Prime Minister that she would set out a plan on Thursday to help deal with the immediate price crisis so that people “can get through this winter”, as well as measures to strengthen the Britain’s long-term energy. Security.

But she added: “I am against a windfall tax. I think it’s not a good thing to discourage businesses from investing in the UK at a time when we need to grow the economy.

“This country will not be able to tax its way to growth,” she said, to thunderous cheers from Tory lawmakers in a packed House of Commons.

Truss’ spokeswoman said she would not reverse a windfall tax imposed in May by former Treasury chief Rishi Sunak, her defeated rival in the Tory leadership, but would not bring a new one . She is also dropping a previously announced increase in corporation tax from 19% to 25%.

Downing Street

Britain’s Prime Minister Liz Truss leaves Downing Street to attend her first Prime Minister’s Questions in Parliament, London, Wednesday September 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein/AP Newsroom)

Opposition Labor Party leader Keir Starmer said it was tantamount to handing over billions to energy companies that have pocketed large profits due to high energy prices. Instead, the cost of price relief will have to be paid by British taxpayers, he said, calling Truss’ economic plans a “conservative fantasy”.

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British media reported that Truss planned to cap energy bills. The cost to taxpayers of this step could reach 100 billion pounds ($116 billion).

‘The Prime Minister knows she has no choice but to support an energy price freeze, but it won’t be cheap and the real choice, the political choice is who is going to pay’ , Starmer said. “Is she really telling us that she is going to leave vast excess profits (from energy companies) on the table and make working people foot the bill for decades to come?”

Liz Truss

Britain’s new Prime Minister Liz Truss arrives to deliver a speech outside Downing Street in London on Tuesday September 6, 2022, after returning from Balmoral in Scotland where she was officially nominated by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP Newsroom)

Truss’ office said there will be a “bold action plan” to support households and businesses with rising energy bills while seeking to boost household energy supply.

“Putin’s war in Ukraine and the militarization of gas supplies in Europe are driving up global prices – and that has only made it clear that we need to strengthen our long-term energy security and supply.” Truss said in a statement Thursday. “We will take action immediately to help individuals and businesses pay their bills, but we will also take decisive action to address the root cause of these issues, so that we are no longer in this position.”

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Although environmentalists have condemned both oil and gas exploration in the North Sea and hydraulic fracturing, Truss said Thursday that she promised more drilling in the North Sea and the removal of the ban on hydraulic fracturing. .

Fracking was first attempted in the UK in 2011 but was halted after facing a series of problems including earthquakes at its Lancashire site.

British Prime Minister Liz Truss

Britain’s Prime Minister Liz Truss leaves 10 Downing Street to attend her first Prime Minister’s Questions in Parliament, London, Wednesday September 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein/AP Newsroom)

In 2019, the government created an effective moratorium on fracking, saying that only if fracking was proven not to cause earthquakes could it continue.

In her first speech as Prime Minister on Tuesday, Truss said she would cut taxes to boost economic growth, strengthen the NHS and “deal” with the energy crisis.

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“We shouldn’t be intimidated by the challenges we face,” Truss said in his speech. “As strong as the storm is, I know the British people are stronger.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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