Liz Truss’ plan to secure more gas for UK could cost PM billions more
Liz Truss shut down by Beth Rigby over benefits row
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Prime Minister Liz Truss has said her government is looking at long term energy contracts with other countries but had not yet signed any deals. Asked by reporters if she was considering buying Norwegian gas, Ms Truss said: “We will move forward on our own energy security … But we are looking at long term energy contracts with other countries because as well as making sure we have got a good price, energy security is vitally important.”
She added: “No deal has been signed.”
Asked for further details of Britain’s strategy, a government spokesperson said: “The new Energy Supply Taskforce has begun negotiations with domestic and international suppliers to agree long-term contracts to reduce the price they charge for energy and increase the UK’s energy resilience.”
Further details of the negotiations will be confirmed in due course, the spokesperson added.
Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday that Britain was in talks with Norway to secure a natural gas contract of potentially 20 years to guard against winter blackouts.
The Norwegian oil and energy ministry directed questions on a potential deal with Britain to energy companies.
A ministry representative said: “There has not been talks between Norwegian and British authorities regarding the sale of gas.”
Equinor, which handles about 70-80 percent of Norwegian gas sales, declined to comment on “market speculations”.
The move could cost Britain billions – something that could spook the markets after an already rocky start to Liz Truss’ economic policies.
The Prime Minister is expected to say the “disruption” from her plans to revive the country’s economy will be worth it as she battles to save her premiership after just a month in the job.
Ms Truss will insist there can be no more “drift and delay” in the effort to boost economic growth in her first Tory conference speech as leader.
She will defend her “new approach” which will “unleash the full potential of our great country”.
But the Prime Minister will face a tough task restoring Tory morale after a conference which has seen a U-turn over a totemic tax policy, Cabinet dissent and the threat of another major split over the level of benefits.
Former Cabinet minister Grant Shapps has warned she has little more than a week to save her leadership, while another member of Boris Johnson’s top team Nadine Dorries said she was not calling for an immediate election because “we’d absolutely lose it”.
Ms Dorries had previously suggested Ms Truss should go to the country if she wanted a mandate for her tax-cutting, high-borrowing agenda.
The Prime Minister, who was only elected as Tory leader on September 5, will tell activists in Birmingham she hopes to create a “new Britain for a new era”, with an unashamedly pro-growth strategy – even though not everyone will be in favour of her methods.
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Ms Truss will say: “For too long, our economy has not grown as strongly as it should have done.
“For too long, the political debate has been dominated by how we distribute a limited economic pie. Instead, we need to grow the pie so that everyone gets a bigger slice.
“That is why I am determined to take a new approach and break us out of this high-tax, low-growth cycle. That is what our plan is about: getting our economy growing and rebuilding Britain through reform.”
Alongside measures to boost growth, the Prime Minister will insist she will keep an iron grip on the nation’s finances, with a leaner state offering value for taxpayers’ money.
She will say: “This is a great country. But I know that we can do better and we must do better.
“We have huge talent across the country. We’re not making enough of it. To deliver this, we need to get Britain moving. We cannot have any more drift and delay at this vital time.”
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