WATCH: Tory failure on energy policy left UK “uniquely exposed”, Phillipson says

Katie Neame

Labour’s Bridget Phillipson has declared that the failure of the Conservative government to plan for the UK’s long-term energy security has left the country “uniquely exposed” to the current crisis.

Appearing on Sky News this morning, the Shadow Education Secretary said the country is entering a “really serious and difficult point” of the cost-of-living crisis, adding: “The numbers that we see are really, really concerning.”

She told viewers: “I hear from people all the time. Pensioners who are worried about what the winter holds, parents who tell me that they’re skipping on meals so that their kids don’t go without.

“This is Britain in the 21st century, and it is a damning indictment of 12 years of Conservative government that we’re in a position where families are facing this massive squeeze, where more children are in poverty.”

The Labour frontbencher declared: “The government’s failure over these last 12 years where it comes to renewable energy and new nuclear, that’s meant that we’re uniquely exposed as a country. We haven’t had that long-term planning. If we’d had that, we’d be in a much, much stronger position as a country.”

On Labour leader Keir Starmer’s current absence, Phillipson said: “Like everyone, Keir Starmer is entitled to a holiday. That’s perfectly fine. You’ll be hearing a lot more from us soon about the additional support that we need to put in place for families.

She stressed that Labour have “said an awful lot” and declaring that the opposition party has been “consistently ahead of the government in setting out the action that families need right now”.

Phillipson continued: “We’ve been saying an emergency Budget was needed for months. We would cut VAT on gas and electricity bills. We wouldn’t have put up people’s taxes.  We wouldn’t have cut Universal Credit.

“We would be planning for the long term as well around our energy security. So you’ve heard a lot from Labour, but you will hear more.”

On Ed Davey’s proposal to not raise the energy price cap further, she said: “I would look seriously at any options that would provide immediate support to families.

“But I tell you, it’s a bit hard to take lectures from Ed Davey. He was Secretary of State responsible for energy and climate change in the Conservative/Lib Dem government.

“It was his government’s failure to plan for the long term, to deliver a new generation of nuclear power stations, to insulate our homes, that cut back on renewable energy, that has left us in this position right now.”

The Liberal Democrat leader has called on the next Conservative leader to cancel a further increase in the price cap in October, in what the party has described as an ‘energy furlough scheme’.

The Lib Dems said the government could cover the estimated £36bn shortfall that suppliers would face as a result by expanding the windfall tax on oil and gas company profits and by using higher-than-expected VAT revenues caused by “soaring inflation”.

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