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Kwasi Kwarteng did not ‘tell porkies’ about industry support, says minister

Pressure is mounting on ministers to commit to “immediate action” and continue talks with energy bosses in a bid to stop costs soaring and more companies going under.

Kwasi Kwarteng held talks with industry leaders last week, and ministers and officials are set to continue speaking with businesses on Monday and throughout the week. Business minister Lee Rowley will lead the meeting later this afternoon, the BBC reports, not Mr Kwarteng.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Dave Dalton, chief executive at British Glass, said a meeting on Friday had started the process of asking for support.

It comes as a senior minister claimed Mr Kwarteng did not lie when he said there were discussions between government departments about potential support for UK firms during the energy crisis – despite officials at chancellor Rishi Sunak’s department flatly denying having been in talks with the business department.

However, asked by Sky News if the business secretary had been “telling porkies”, the Home Office minister Damian Hinds replied: “Of course not.”

Follow our live coverage below

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Government urged to give ‘more support’ as energy prices rise

Ministers are under pressure to continue talks with industry bosses in a bid to stop firms going to the wall amid rising energy costs.

Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng held talks with industry leaders last week, and ministers and officials are set to continue speaking with businesses on Monday and throughout the week. However, the government is facing demands for “immediate action” to protect firms from rising costs.

Mr Kwarteng has pledged to keep the energy price cap in place to help households struggling with rising costs. But he has offered no new support for businesses after bosses and some Tory MPs called for help to prevent them going under as wholesale prices soar.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Dave Dalton, chief executive at British Glass, said a meeting on Friday had started the process of asking for support.

“It seemed to prick the ears of the Secretary of State to asking a civil servant to work with us quickly and closely to build an ask to go to Treasury.

“We didn’t get to specifics, the meeting was very much an introductory one, and we had rather hoped over the weekend and today that that dialogue would be extended.

“It’s very alarming to hear the Treasury are making denials over the approach, let alone anything else. We need immediate action.”

Ministers and officials will continue to speak to industry figures on Monday and throughout the week, according to reports.

Sam Hancock11 October 2021 09:51
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UK ‘dismissing EU solutions to Protocol before they’re released’

Over to Ireland now. The Republic’s foreign affairs minister has accused the UK government of dismissing EU solutions to the Northern Ireland Protocol before they are released.

Simon Coveney also said it is a “bit rich” that Britain’s Brexit negotiator David Frost has accused him of raising Brexit issues on social media. He made the comments in response to a speech Lord Frost is to give on Tuesday, in which he will make removing the role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Northern Ireland a red-line issue.

“Each time that the European Union comes forward with new ideas and new proposals to try and solve problems, they are dismissed before they are released, and that’s happening again this week,” Mr Coveney said.

“But this week it seems more serious because Maros Sefcovic, and his negotiating team on behalf of the EU, have been preparing this package for weeks, if not months, to try to deal with many of the practical issues that many in Northern Ireland have been frustrated by, by ensuring medicines can get into Northern Ireland, ensuring that chilled meats can get into Northern Ireland.”

He continued: “This is being seen across the European Union as the same pattern over and over again – the EU tries to solve problems, the UK dismisses the solutions before they’re even published and asks for more.”

<p>Simon Coveney has criticised minsters for being inflexible </p>

Simon Coveney has criticised minsters for being inflexible

Sam Hancock11 October 2021 09:37
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Energy secretary ‘certain as he can be’ gas will stay on in winter

In case you missed this yesterday. The government’s energy secretary said he is as “certain” as he can be that gas supplies will stay on this winter.

Speaking on Sunday morning Kwasi Kwarteng also ruled out lifting the energy price cap in the spring, a move called for by energy companies to let them raise prices, and said there would no prospect of imposing a new green levy on heating bills for at least a year during the crisis, reports our policy correspondent Jon Stone.

“I’m very committed and convinced that we will have full energy supply,” Mr Kwarteng told Sky News, adding: “I’m as certain as I could be.”

Energy secretary ‘certain as he can be’ gas will stay on this winter

Kwasi Kwarteng also rules out lifting price cap early and says no green levy on bills this winter

Sam Hancock11 October 2021 09:08
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Labour condemn govt for ‘squabbling’ instead of solving energy crisis

A Labour MP has described reports of discussions between the Treasury and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy over the supply crisis as “extraordinary”.

Pat McFadden, the former shadow business secretary, told Sky News:

“We’ve got jobs crises facing a number of energy-intensive industries like steel, ceramics, papermaking and so on. They’re asking the government for help.

“Instead of their concerns being addressed, what we’ve got is this unseemly squabble between the Treasury and the Business Department.”

He added that if Treasury officials are not involved in talks “they should be”.

Sam Hancock11 October 2021 09:01
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Business secretary did not ‘tell porkies’ about help for industry

Following my post at 8.36am, here’s Adam Forrest on what was said about accusations against Kwasi Kwarteng.

Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng did not lie when he said there were discussions between government departments about potential support for UK firms during the energy crisis, a senior minister has insisted.

Mr Kwarteng said on Sunday that he had been in talks with the Treasury and the energy industry to work out ways to help it through the crisis.

However, officials at chancellor Rishi Sunak’s department flatly denied having been in talks with the business department – with one Treasury source accusing Mr Kwarteng of “making things up in interviews”.

Asked by Sky News if the business secretary had been “telling porkies”, the Home Office minister Damian Hinds replied: “Of course not.”

Business secretary did not ‘tell porkies’ about help for industry, says government

Minister also defends Boris Johnson’s holiday – saying ‘important for the country’ that PM takes break

Sam Hancock11 October 2021 08:43
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‘Now not the time for a PM to be away,’ says UK Steel chief

Speaking of Gareth Stace, the UK Steel boss also appeared on LBC this morning where he called out Boris Johnson for going on holiday.

“I’m sure he can get on the phone and get talking to them but to my mind, now is not the time for a prime minister to be on holiday, from the steel sector point of view,” Mr Stace said.

Sam Hancock11 October 2021 08:40
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PM urged to ‘bang heads together’ to solve energy crisis

The Daily Mirror’s Lizzy Buchan reports the following:

Here’s what Mr Stace said on the matter when he appeared on LBC radio later on:

“This is a critical time. The business secretary has also said it’s a critical situation, and therefore why is government just sitting on its hands and doing absolutely nothing at the moment?

“From my point of view, today, with the reported government infighting between the Treasury and BEIS, the prime minister now needs to bang ministerial heads together, take control and remember that if he does nothing, then his levelling-up ambition will be left in tatters.”

Sam Hancock11 October 2021 08:37
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Home Office: Kwarteng didn’t lie about energy discussions

Some more from Damian Hinds now. The Home Office Minister this morning denied claims Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, lied when he said there were discussions between government departments about help for energy firms.

Mr Hinds was asked by Sky News if his colleague been dishonest after the Treasury denied having been in talks with his department, and replied: “Of course not.”

He then criticised “unnamed sources [these kinds of] stories come [from]”.

“The fact is government departments, government ministers talk to each other the whole time and of course with an issue like this, with these rising global prices and business having to grapple and deal with it to make sure they break even and can make a margin of course that is something that the business secretary – and of course the energy secretary – is going to be totally focussed on,” Mr Hinds added.

Sam Hancock11 October 2021 08:36
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PM ‘always in charge,’ minister says when asked about Marbella trip

Kwasi Kwarteng isn’t alone. Home Office minister Damian Hinds has also jumped to the defence of Boris Johnson over his decision to take a holiday.

Asked by Sky News if now was the right time for a holiday, Mr Hinds replied: “When is the right time? I think it is important that people do have an opportunity to be with their families to have some relaxing, unwinding.”

He continued: “But I wouldn’t want to overstate the amount of unwinding and relaxing you get to do as prime minister because as I say you are constantly in touch, you are constantly being briefed and you remain in charge of the government.”

“What is important for the rest of us actually, for the whole country, is that the prime minister does get to have some family time, does get to have a break.”

Sam Hancock11 October 2021 08:30
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Sunak under fire for ‘planning to recycle billions as aid money’

Rishi Sunak has been criticised for looking to save of billions of pounds by “recycling” money from an International Monetary Fund (IMF) as aid spending.

Campaigners believe the chancellor is preparing to use a large portion of the windfall in the overseas aid budget rather than on top of it.

It comes after the government decided to cut aid spending from 0.7 per cent to 0.5 per cent of national income this year, a move that was widely condemned and met with a rebellion of Conservative MPs, reports Liam James.

Rishi Sunak under fire for ‘planning to recycle billions from IMF as aid money’

Move would be another knock for ‘Global Britain’, say critics

Sam Hancock11 October 2021 08:25

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