Government's Energy Strategy Faces Further Delays, Downing Street Confirms
A new paper outlining the government’s strategy for energy security in Britain has been delayed, Downing Street has confirmed.
A spokesperson for Number 10 on Monday said the highly anticipated report will be published “as soon as possible, and that it is “not unusual” for government “to take the right amount of time” to finalise policies.
This is the second time the strategy's publication has been delayed. Nearly three weeks ago, on 9th March, Boris Johnson said the paper would be published in the "next few days". Downing Street last week indicated that it would be published this week.
The Prime Minister has promised a “massive jump forward” on renewables and nuclear power in his new energy plans for the UK.
The government has vowed to produce more energy at home in light of Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine and its impact on global supplies.
The UK gets less than 4% of its gas from Russia, unlike EU countries which get much larger amounts. Germany, for example, gets around half of its gas from Russia. However, the impact of Putin's attack on global gas prices is having a direct effect on the UK households and putting great pressure on the government to act.
PoliticsHome understands there was confusion among ministers on Monday morning over when the strategy would be published after the Financial Times reported on Sunday that it had been pushed into April.
As soaring energy bills contribute to a wider cost of living crisis in the UK, MPs are anxious to receive clarity on how Johnson intends to shore up Britain's access to affordable gas.
One government source said the delay was making them look “bad and indecisive” and that the Treasury’s concern about the cost of delivering the proposals, which is the primary reason for the delay, was out of step with the rest of government.
"If the Treasury is pushing back then there's only going to one loser here, because the PM and Kwasi [Kwarteng, Business Secretary] are right behind it,” they told PoliticsHome.
A Downing Street Spokesperson said: “We will set out our plans for publication as soon as possible”.
A government source indicated the strategy could be published on Thursday next week, despite Parliament being in recess, as the House of Lords will still be sitting that day.
The insider added it is highly unlikely to be published during purdah, the period leading up to the local elections during which there are restrictions on what government can announce, which begins on 14th April.
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