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'Utterly irresponsible and highly expensive' Kwarteng slams Sturgeon on energy crisis plan


Secretary of State for Business and Energy Kwasi Kwarteng criticised the SNP-led Scottish Government for its refusal to back Westminster in looking to reduce the cost of energy. The war in Ukraine has led to a surge in the cost of energy, pushing up bills for households across the country.

By the end of this year, there are fears the energy price cap could reach as high as £3,000, crippling Britons.

Ministers are considering a range of options, including increasing North Sea oil production or opening new nuclear plants, to help ease the problems being faced across the country.

At the same time, almost £10billion in funding has been unveiled to help reduce bills.

Outlining the Government’s support in the Commons, Mr Kwarteng accused the SNP of failing to back their approach.

READ MORE ON OUR UKRAINE WAR LIVE BLOG

He said: “We’ve had a £9.1billion support package that was only announced four weeks ago.

“We’ve also on top of that allocated £500million of additional relief only last week to help people through this difficult time.

“One way in which bills, I’m afraid Mr Speaker, will go up is if we were to adopt the insane SNP policy, essentially to shut down north sea oil, have no intention at all to develop nuclear, and that Mr Speaker, would be an utterly irresponsible and highly expensive way to deal with this current problem.”

The SNP’s Stephen Flyyn, accused the Tories of misinterpreting his party’s position.

He retorted: “The Secretary of State does himself no favours by attempting to invent policies which are simply not reflective of the SNP’s position at this time.”

The Westminster Government is set to shortly unveil its energy strategy outlining how the UK will reduce its dependence on imports from Russia.

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While the details are still being finalised, Ms Sturgeon has already made clear she would not support a strategy that means increasing North Sea oil production or opening up new nuclear energy plants.

A Scottish Government spokesman said last week: “New nuclear power will take years, if not decades, to become operational and will also be expensive – pushing up household bills.

“The Scottish Government is absolutely clear in our opposition to the building of new traditional nuclear fission energy plants in Scotland under current technologies.

“We believe a significant growth in renewables, storage, hydrogen and carbon capture provides the best pathway to Net Zero by 2045.”

Answering questions in the Scottish parliament last week, Ms Sturgeon added: “Even if we were to put to one side the environmental considerations, given the timescales and the practicalities involved it is not credible to suggest that the short term solution to this crisis lies in increasing North Sea production, existing fields in the North Sea are not currently operating under capacity.”

Instead, the First Minister said the UK must move more quickly towards using renewable sources of energy.

She told MSPs: “We need to find the solutions and we need to make sure that we are accelerating that transition to renewable and low carbon energy because that’s the solution to reduce dependence on Russian oil and gas over the medium to long term.

“But it’s also frankly the responsible action to take in response to the climate emergency.”



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