The months ahead are going to be tough, perhaps very tough. Our energy bills are going to be eye-watering. For many of us, the cost of heating our homes is already frightening.
And yet I have never been more certain that we will come through this well – and that Britain will emerge stronger and more prosperous the other side.
Let us remember who caused this global surge in the cost of energy, and what is at stake.
Yes, we were already seeing supply chain pressures last year, caused by the aftershocks of Covid, and that was causing a rise in some global prices.
But by the end of last year we were fixing it. The world was finding the lorry drivers. The container ships were moving. We were sourcing the silicon chips.
What no one had bargained for was the decision of Vladimir Putin – and it was his decision alone – to launch a vicious and irrational attack, on February 24, against an innocent European country.
The months ahead are going to be tough, perhaps very tough. Our energy bills are going to be eye-watering. For many of us, the cost of heating our homes is already frightening. And yet I have never been more certain that we will come through this well – and that Britain will emerge stronger and more prosperous the other side
It is Putin’s war that is costing British consumers. That is why your energy bill is doubling. I am afraid Putin knows it. He likes it. And he wants us to buckle. (UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson pictured with Ukraine’s President Volodymr Zelensky, right)
It was Putin’s barbaric invasion that spooked the energy markets.
It is Putin’s war that is costing British consumers. That is why your energy bill is doubling. I am afraid Putin knows it. He likes it. And he wants us to buckle.
He believes that soft European politicians will not have the stomach for the struggle – that this coming winter we will throw in the sponge, take off the sanctions and go begging for Russian oil and gas.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson discussed how hospitals have dealt with the Covid backlog during a visit to South West London Orthopaedic Centre on Friday
He believes we will tire of backing Ukraine and begin discreetly to encourage the Ukrainians to do a deal, however nauseating, with the tyrant in the Kremlin.
That would be utter madness. In this brutal arm-wrestle, the Ukrainian people can and will win. And so will Britain.
With every month that goes by Putin’s position grows weaker. His ability to bully and blackmail is diminishing. And Britain’s position will grow stronger.
We must and we will help people through the crisis. Colossal sums of taxpayers’ money are already committed to helping people pay their bills. That cash is flowing now – and will continue to flow in the months ahead.
Another chunk of the £650 is already due to go to the eight million most vulnerable households this autumn. There is another £300 going to pensioners in November, £150 for the disabled and £400 for all energy bill payers.
Next month – whoever takes over from me – the Government will announce another huge package of financial support. It is worth remembering why we are in a position to make these payments.
We have the cash to support families across the country because we have already proved the pessimists wrong.
Next month – whoever takes over from me – the Government will announce another huge package of financial support. It is worth remembering why we are in a position to make these payments
I remember sitting in the Cabinet room for an economic briefing in 2020 as the waves of the pandemic broke over the world and we saw the biggest drop in output for 300 years. They told me UK unemployment would top 14 per cent.
They said that millions would be thrown on to the economic scrapheap – with all the consequent costs to the Exchequer.
They were wrong. After becoming the first country in the world to approve an effective vaccine, we staged the fastest vaccine roll-out in Europe, the fastest exit from Covid. As a result we had the fastest growth in the G7 last year and instead of mass unemployment we have about 640,000 MORE people in payrolled employment than before the pandemic began.
Instead of being at 14 per cent, unemployment is at 3.8 per cent, nearly the lowest for almost 50 years. That is giving us the fundamental economic strength to endure this crisis – as the Russian economy continues to melt down.
We are ending our dependency on Russian hydrocarbons. In June, for the first time in decades, we did not import any fuel from Russia. The UK has already stepped up production of domestic gas – 26 per cent more this year than last.
With every new wind farm we build offshore, with every new nuclear project we approve, we strengthen our strategic position. We become less vulnerable to the vagaries of the global gas price and less vulnerable to Putin’s pressure.
It is this Government that has reversed the apathy of decades and greenlighted new nuclear plants.
For 13 wasted years Labour refused to approve a single new project, with the result that the nuclear industry was heading for near collapse.
We are going to build a new reactor every year and will have a colossal 50 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030 – almost half our total electricity consumption.
This British Energy Security Strategy is just a part of a vast programme to make the economy more productive and competitive.
In just three years we have increased the coverage of gigabit broadband from seven per cent of households to 70 per cent. We are strengthening the economic sinews of the country with the biggest investment in rail – three new high speed lines – for a century.
We have invested massively in skills, so that people can improve their qualifications throughout their lives.
We have taken decisive steps to make this the best place in the world to invest and start a business. We are axeing dozens of burdensome EU laws that acted as unnecessary deterrents to investment.
We are creating eight new free-ports, cutting taxes on investment and lengthening our lead as a science superpower – with £22 billion of investment in science and a new Advanced Research agency to crack the big problems of our time, from dementia to zero carbon aviation.
All this is paying off in jobs and growth. In the first quarter of this year the UK attracted more venture capital investment in technology than China.
We have more tech investment than France, Germany and Israel combined and we produce a new billion-pound ‘unicorn’ company roughly every two weeks.
These new ideas are blooming not just in the golden triangle of Oxford, Cambridge and London but across the whole UK as we drive forward our levelling up agenda.
We have laid the foundations for long-term gains in prosperity and productivity. We know we will bounce back from the crisis in the cost of energy as we rapidly build up our own UK supplies.
That is why we will succeed and why we cannot flinch now.
If Putin is allowed to get away with his murder and mayhem, and to change the borders of Europe by force, then he will simply do it again, elsewhere on the periphery of the former Soviet Union.
We must continue to back the Ukrainians – and their military success continues to be remarkable. Volodymyr Zelensky has shown his country is fundamentally unconquerable
Now is the time for the West to double down our support, not to go wobbly… We have more than enough resilience to get through tough months ahead. We have shown that before
Other countries will draw the lesson that violence and aggression can pay off and that will usher in a new cycle of political and economic instability.
That is why we must continue to back the Ukrainians – and their military success continues to be remarkable. Volodymyr Zelensky has shown his country is fundamentally unconquerable.
Now is the time for the West to double down our support, not to go wobbly.
Now is the time to keep our nerve and ignore Labour and the union barons with their calls for endless fools’ gold – inflationary pay rises and taxpayer-funded support to some of the richest households.
We have more than enough resilience to get through tough months ahead. We have shown that before.
And we have made the long term decisions – including on domestic energy supply – to ensure that our bounceback can and should be remarkable and that our future will be golden.
Boris Johnson vows that Britain will not buckle in the face of the cost-of-living crisis while No 10 contender Liz Truss has turned ‘more than half an eye to Government’ as leadership race nears its conclusion
By Glen Owen, Political Editor for The Mail on Sunday
Boris Johnson has vowed that Britain will not ‘buckle’ under the pressure of the soaring cost of living, as he predicts a ‘golden’ future under his successor as Prime Minister.
With just over a week to go before he leaves Downing Street, Mr Johnson uses a valedictory article in The Mail on Sunday to argue that the country will emerge ‘stronger and more prosperous’ after the crisis, which he blames on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s disruptions to gas supplies.
The Prime Minister writes: ‘It is Putin’s war that is costing British consumers. That is why your energy bill is doubling. I am afraid Putin knows it. He likes it. And he wants us to buckle.’
He adds: ‘With every month that goes by Putin’s position grows weaker. His ability to bully and blackmail is diminishing. And Britain’s position will grow stronger.
‘We must and we will help people through the crisis. Colossal sums of taxpayers’ money are already committed to helping people pay their bills.
‘That cash is flowing now – and will continue to flow in the months ahead.’
Mr Johnson, who will resign on 6 September, concludes: ‘We have more than enough resilience to get through the tough months ahead.
‘We have shown that before. And we have made the long-term decisions – including on domestic energy supply – to ensure our bounceback can, and should, be remarkable, and that our future will be golden.’
His vow comes as his likely successor, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, is drawing up a multi-billion-pound package of targeted support for households, which she is planning to announce in an emergency Budget next month.
It will come in addition to support already put forward by the Government, including £650 for the eight million most vulnerable households.
Ms Truss, who holds a substantial poll lead over her leadership rival Rishi Sunak, tells The Mail on Sunday that the public should not fear the coming months.
‘I have a clear plan to get Britain through this storm and out the other side, and the determination to deliver it,’ she says.
‘A recession is not inevitable, but we need to make sure we do not talk ourselves into one. I don’t believe in managed decline and I won’t accept it. I believe in hope over fear.’
The war in Ukraine has triggered huge hikes in energy bills, which analysts fear will combine with double-digit inflation and rising interest rates to wipe out the savings of millions of households. On Friday, the regulator Ofgem announced that the energy price cap would rise from £1,971 to £3,549 a year on October 1, with experts forecasting further rises to as much as £7,000 by April. In other developments:
Tory leadership frontrunner Liz Truss has promised an emergency budget to address the cost of living crunch if she enters No 10
Ms Truss is planning to emulate Margaret Thatcher by appointing her own personal economics guru to advise her on the Government’s response to the growing economic crisis and maximise the UK’s post-Brexit opportunities;
The Foreign Secretary is planning to ‘rehabilitate’ some supporters of Mr Sunak when she makes the expected appointments to her Government, as part of a philosophy of having the ‘best players on the pitch’. Sunak backers, such as former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick, will be offered jobs if they have behaved with ‘decorum’ during the contest;
The bosses of Britain’s biggest energy and utility companies pocketed £30 million in pay between them last year as families face an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis;
Despite the catastrophic price rises, every energy user will end up paying a levy of £250 to pay for the failures of utility bosses.
A source on the Truss campaign said: ‘There’s no complacency in our camp. This contest isn’t over and Liz is fighting for every vote, but we are turning more than half an eye to government.
‘Liz will cut the c**p, cut the infighting in Downing Street, and make sure the whole operation of government is focused on delivering the things people care about.’
The source added: ‘Liz gets that things will be difficult this autumn and winter, but fundamentally she is optimistic and hopeful about the future.
‘She’s got a clear plan to get us through tough times and out the other side, and a clear plan to get the country firing on all cylinders in the longer term.’