We can ride out the storm, says Liz Truss as she freezes energy bills

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She laid out her policy priorities in office, saying: “I will get Britain working again. I have a bold plan to grow the economy through tax cuts and reform. I will cut taxes to reward hard work and boost business-led growth and investment.

“I will deal hands-on with the energy crisis caused by Putin’s war. I will take action this week to deal with energy bills and to secure our future energy supply.”

She named NHS reform as another key drive, saying: “I will make sure that people can get doctors’ appointments and the NHS services they need. We will put our health service on a firm footing.”

There was praise for her predecessor as she said: “Boris Johnson delivered Brexit, the Covid vaccine, and stood up to Russian aggression. History will see him as a hugely consequential prime minister.”

Ms Truss talked up the “grit, courage and determination” of the British people, saying: “I know that we have what it takes to tackle these challenges. Of course it won’t be easy. But we can do it. We will transform Britain into an aspiration nation.”

Fresh details emerged about the huge package of support she is preparing to announce later this week to protect homes and businesses from rising energy bills. 

All 28 million households are expected to be protected until 2024 in an intervention that goes further and lasts longer than Labour’s proposals.

Annual energy bills for the average household will be frozen at around £2,500, with an exact figure yet to be named. The existing £400 discount for every household will remain, bringing bills down further. 

It means average households will pay close to £2,000 a year – the rough figure of the current price cap. It had been due to rise to £3,549 next month. The Truss team has rejected energy firm proposals for consumers to pay back some of the support through higher prices over the next 10 or 20 years.

The support package for businesses is more complicated and still being worked out. One option is a freeze on energy costs, but implementing that move quickly would be difficult.

The total cost to the taxpayer is uncertain and will depend on the changing cost of energy. Bloomberg cited economists suggesting it could be as high as £200 billion, but government figures said that was too high.

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