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Top Stories: Cash Boost For Energy Security, Labour Pledge Council Tax Freeze

Grant Shapps said he wants to make the UK more energy independent (Alamy)

4 min read

The government is set to announce its “powering up Britain” strategy, with a particular focus on carbon capture and storage (CCS).

Energy and Net Zero Secretary Grant Shapps will set out the strategy on a visit to a nuclear fusion development facility in Oxford on Thursday, to make the nation's energy supply more resilient after the invasion of Ukraine has sent fuel costs soaring since last year.

Shapps confirmed there will be “new money” included in the strategy, and told Talk TV there will be 70 announcements relating to energy security.

“I want to make sure we have complete energy security for this country, that we have energy independence, that we’re powering Britain for Britain, that we’re able to ensure that we bring energy bills down,” he said.

“That is what this document today, ‘Powering Britain’, is all about.

“There will be new money going into things like setting up Great British Nuclear. I want to ensure we have nuclear power providing more of our power over a long period of time.”

Great British Nuclear is a scheme to support new nuclear builds in the bid for achieving net zero, and £20bn will also be going towards CCS over the next 20 years. 

Other announcements will include two “cluster” locations for eight CCS projects, the launch of a £160m floating offshore wind fund, and £380m towards electric vehicle charging points.

Labour would freeze council tax if in government this year

Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves
Labour's shadow cabinet ministers will be joining local election campaign trails around the country (Alamy)

The Labour Party is launching its local elections campaign on Thursday and said it would freeze council tax this year if in government.

Labour leader Keir Starmer is visiting Swindon to open his party’s local election campaigning, where he is expected to say that it’s a “Tory choice” to increase council taxes and that Labour would choose differently.

However, this does not seem to be a pledge that Labour would freeze council tax if they get into government at the next general election in 2024. 

Millions of households in England will see their council tax go up by as much as 5 per cent on 1 April, which is likely to become a key issue in the run-up to the local elections, held in 230 councils in England on 4 May. 

Labour has also announced a “national mission” to insulate 19 million homes, reducing energy bills and making the UK more energy independent.

Public trusts EU more than UK Parliament

Rishi Sunak
The UK scores among the lowest of countries in the world on public trust in Parliament (Alamy)

The British public have more confidence in the European Union than UK Parliament, according to a new survey. 

Findings from the World Values Survey (WVS) show that people trust the EU more than UK Parliament for the first time in over 30 years. 

Only 24 per cent of people said they were “happy” about Brexit, while 49 per cent said they were “disappointed”, and those who said they have confidence in UK Parliament decreased from 32 per cent to 22 per cent since the UK voted to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum. 

The UK public has less trust in their own government and Parliament than citizens of France, Germany, Australia, Iran and China have in theirs.

Prof Bobby Duffy, the director of the Policy Institute at King’s College London, which analysed the figures, told the Guardian that confidence in Parliament has halved since 1990. 

“We’re among the least likely of more than 20 countries in the study to have confidence in the government,” he said.

“Confidence in the police has fallen sharply, particularly in London; and only Egypt has less trust in their press.”

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