WATCH: Christine Jardine challenge PM to cut energy bills.

Yesterday at Prime Minister’s Questions, Christine Jardine asked Rishi Sunak to cut the energy bills. She cited a survey she had carried out in her constituency that showed that 80% of respondents were forced to cut their energy use.

The Prime Minister would not give that commitment:

The Liberal Democrats’ shadow Energy Secretary said that there was no role for nuclear power in our future energy industry, which is not something that we need to listen to. As for helping people with their energy bills, as I said earlier, because of the energy price guarantee we are paying, typically, about half a family’s energy bill at the moment, which is worth £1,000. However, the support does not end there: over the next year there will be about £1,000 of direct support for the most vulnerable families in the nation.

I agree with the hon. Lady about energy efficiency. It is important, which is why the Government have allocated more than £6 billion over the current Parliament, and the new schemes that we have just introduced will help hundreds of thousands of households across the country, saving them about £300 on their bills through improvements in their energy efficiency—and the hon. Lady is right: it should be available everywhere, including Scotland.

Afterwards, Christine said:

By refusing to cut energy bills Rishi Sunak is leaving millions of families and pensioners on the brink.

This Conservative Government is happy to heartlessly stand by while millions see their energy bills continue to soar.

We need real action, and that means implementing the Liberal Democrat plans to cut energy bills with a huge windfall tax and tax oil and gas giants bonanza bonuses.

Liberal Democrats have this week set out their plan to help people with energy bills:

  • Instead of the Conservatives’ plan to hike the energy price guarantee by £500, the Liberal Democrats want to scrap the bill hike and reduce the average energy bill to £1,971 – the level it was last April. This would save the average household an estimated £400 on their energy bills over the next 12 months.
  • For the least well-off households, the Liberal Democrats want extra targeted support, including doubling the Warm Homes Discount to £300.
  • The party is also calling on the government to U-turn on its plans to slash energy bill support for businesses, schools and hospitals by 85%, and instead extend current levels of support for another six months.
  • The Liberal Democrat plan would mostly be funded through money already budgeted for energy support, but now unspent due to falling energy prices.
  • Additional funds would be raised by a proper windfall tax on the record profits of oil and gas companies, including scrapping the fossil fuel investment loophole and raising the rate of the windfall tax from 35% to 40%.
  • This could raise at least £15 billion more than the government’s current Energy Profits Levy.
Read more by or more about , or .
This entry was posted in News.


  • Like how new nuclear is missing from the LibDem plan…
    Remember we need to bring online a new power station every year until 2030…
    As that isn’t going to happen, high and even higher energy bills will be the norm for several decades..

  • I have a sneaking feeling that extra support for energy bills will be announced in the budget in 2 weeks time.

  • David Goble 3rd Mar '23 - 8:15am

    @ Alan Jelfs. Yes, just in time for the local elections!

  • Jenny Barnes 3rd Mar '23 - 11:02am

    “Like how new nuclear is missing from the LibDem plan…”
    In 2010 Mr. Clegg dismissed the idea of new nuclear power on the grounds that it would take a decade to come on stream. If we started now, Sizewell C already on the stocks, we could have a new 3.3 GW nuke every year from 2032.
    “it’s the job that’s never started that takes longest to finish” (JRR Tolkien)

  • Jenny Barnes 3rd Mar '23 - 11:21am

    The money paid to households for energy bill support is effectively a giant taxpayer subsidy for the energy companies. Without it, many more would have to disconnect, leading to a huge shortfall in energy company income and probably several going bust.
    Far better would be to legislate for a social tariff for all – to cover the first 1.5 MW of electricity and 6 MW of gas annually (suitably scaled for seasonality). This is about half average household consumption. No limits on the charges for additional units. Also remove the standing charge, and charge on prepayment meters to be 5% less than for direct debit. No cost to the taxpayer, and means everyone should be able to afford at least some energy. Price for the social tariff around what it was before the big surge.

  • Jenny Barnes 3rd Mar ’23 – 11:21am:
    The money paid to households for energy bill support is effectively a giant taxpayer subsidy for the energy companies.

    Mostly to wind and solar subsidy farmers, often based in tax-havens.

    ‘Gas Power Is Cheaper Than Wind, Despite Carbon Brief’s Claims’ [2nd. March 2023]:

    Market prices of electricity averaged £121/MWh, and this price usually reflects the price of gas-fired power. However offshore wind farms subsidised under CfDs were paid an average of £167/MWh.

    And offshore wind subsidised via ROCs, which account for about half of the offshore sector, earn £100/MWh on top of the market price, a total of £221/MWh.

    The weighted average cost for all offshore farms was therefore £194/MWh.

    Even onshore wind farms receive a subsidy of £52/MWh on top of the market price.

    And these costs don’t even include the extra costs incurred by the grid associated with intermittent wind power.

    If we had more gas-fired power and less wind power, our energy bills would be lower, not higher.

    Now they want even more subsidies…

    ‘Offshore wind farm ‘at risk’ without tax breaks’ [3rd. March 2023]:

    The company behind an £8 billion project to build the world’s biggest offshore wind farm in British waters said it will be put on hold unless the government offers tax breaks to offset soaring costs.

  • Jenny Barnes 3rd Mar ’23 – 11:02am:
    If we started now, Sizewell C already on the stocks, we could have a new 3.3 GW nuke every year from 2032.

    Rather than the EPR reactor which is dated, overly complex, and eyewateringly expensive it would be better to invest in developing modern, simple, and more affordable fourth generation technology.

    Moltex is a UK company based in Warrington, but had to go to Canada to find a customer for its first design a Stable Salt Reactor – Wasteburner (SSR-W) which uses the nuclear waste from past and present operations as fuel. Moltex are also developing a uranium fuelled thermal spectrum reactor…


    Our approach is to use the natural properties of the materials, tuning the chemistry and physics so that the reaction happens simply and safely. This isn’t complex engineering and sophisticated systems; it’s about the elegant application of science. This means that our reactor uses standard materials, has no moving parts and is inherently safe. It is easy to construct, install and operate, leading to low costs – lower than for coal, oil or gas.

    For an informative presentation by Moltex co-founder Dr. Ian Scott…

    ‘MITAB20-Ian-Stable Salt Reactors – a new platform technology in nuclear fission’:

  • @jeff re. molten.
    The problem is we are where we are(*) due to decades of dilly-dallying by Westminster, which hasn’t just stalled the building of new nuclear but also stymied nuclear R&D.

    So whilst not ideal, we need to build a production line and turn the handle on creating a new generation of base load nuclear. Whilst also investing in new tech such as Moltex; as there will be a lot of waste that will need processing. This also avoiding the mistakes of the past where every uk reactor was a different design.

    The catch is the government needs to both commit and fund. It should now be obvious why the decision to go ahead with HS2 was both daft and shortsighted, so for the cost of HS2 we could fund the required new nuclear…

  • @ Roland I’d forgotten that stopping nuclear power was another of the unfortunate Coalition ‘U turns’ on what had been traditional Liberal policy, although I remember that a prominent Union of Liberal Students Chair had been a prominent researcher into much safer nuclear fusion when he was at London University.

    I’d be interested to know if Roland has any suggestions about safe long term storage of nuclear waste ?

  • Jenny Barnes 3rd Mar '23 - 4:17pm

    I think it would be good to invest in tech we know how to build. Sizewell C will reuse much of the initial investment for Hinkley, for example the “big Karl” crane. Ok, investigate new designs, but let’s get building what we know how to build, and works. All new stuff comes with glowing ads – wait till it’s delivered before betting the farm on it.

  • @David – The storage of nuclear byproducts…

    From what I’ve managed to read, it would seem there are solutions for the obvious stuff, like fuel rods – these can be readily recycled into new fuel rods, and reactor core graphite can be turned into diamond batteries (safe enough to be used in pacemakers). The fun and games are with everything else eg. Body protection, equipment etc, exposed during the operational life of the reactor and finally the decommissioning of end-of-life reactors.

    Obviously, some of this waste can be ‘burnt’ in certain types of reactors, but that doesn’t fully “solve the problem”. I suspect we are going to have to grasp the nettle and invest in really understanding nuclear waste and radioactivity, with places like Chernobyl being at the forefront of technical development. Also a lesson from Sellafield is we need to think about waste processing and storage before the event and not afterwards when the temptation has been to just throw everything into the same pond…
    So not a comfortable reassuring answer…

    What is also becoming clear, fusion also isn’t free of harmful radiation with the torus becoming unsafe for humans after plasma production. Also many of our “green” solutions also produce waste, which whilst not radio active is very hard to recycle…

  • @David – The other thread we need to consider, is whether we could do without nuclear.
    I suggest this is possible, however, it would mean taking on the full implications of downsizing both our economy and population. If we aim for a population of circa 35M by 2050, which is probably sustainable as a low carbon producing civil society then naturally our energy requirements will also fall. Of cause we could do nothing and allow the “perfect storm” to wreck its havoc and potentially have a population of circa 5M, unable to use much of the technology we currently take for granted…

  • Jenny Barnes 4th Mar '23 - 5:38pm

    The UK population is just under 68M. 20% are over 65. If you assume all the over 65s die by 2050, and there are no new births, you get to 55M. What’s your plan for the other 20M???
    However, I think it would be possible to run an economy based on declining energy use, just not this one. Low hanging fruit : cars, aviation. One car uses 16 MWh to make, so that’s 1.6MWh/year, and 7k milesp.a about another 2MWh (electric). One medium haul flight for a family of 4 (Lon – Ath) 7MWh. It’s a lot cheaper and easier not to use the energy than it is to produce it.
    But – politicians love growth, which means they want a bigger car industry and more aviation, and more energy use.

  • Nonconformistradical 5th Mar '23 - 9:28am

    “If we aim for a population of circa 35M by 2050….”
    Jenny Barnes is making a fair point.

    If you think that is what we should be doing then how do you plan to achieve such a massive fall in population by 2050? And what is your evidence that it could be done?

  • Paul Barker 5th Mar '23 - 11:26am

    One of the fun things about the present period is that we can find examples of Overpopulation Hysteria & Underpopulation Hysteria at the same time. The only reason The UK Population hasn’t been falling for Decades is that we choose to import People on a relatively large scale, ditto for most of Europe & North America.
    Lets calm down & live in the World as it is, while suggesting reasonable improvements. We already have the means to massively expand Land-based Wind Turbines & Solar Panels on buildings, lets argue for that.

  • @Jenny – Yes that 20+ million…

    The problem I set myself was given the changes happening, what would a sustainable population be assuming we could not rely on imported food. Current data suggest this is somewhere around 50% of our current population, I suspect if we apply ourselves that number could be increased…

    Having identified this, then asked myself the question you are asking: How?
    And that’s when we hit the monstrous challenge, I don’t have a comfortable answer, I suspect the more the ignore it the more we will tend towards the catastrophy scenario = taking the UK back to its pre-industrial revolution population.

    So I suggest the challenge we have is both to manage the population increase and to invest in making ourselves more self-sufficient.

    As for energy, as we saw from lockdown, there is scope to massively reduce the energy consumption of unnecessary travel, which is a good starter…

  • Peter Hirst 6th Mar '23 - 12:15pm

    Is the energy and col crisis the means to reduce our energy use? The art seems to be to persuade the public and businessses to reduce their energy use while opposing the increase in energy costs that is the main reason they are being reduced. It does need a rather nimbleness of thought that most of our politicians don’ t possess to achieve this though it might happen anyway.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • matt
    I am devastated to say the least by these new changes to visa rules. My life took a major turn of events last year and i separated from my Husband of 25 year...
  • Robin Stafford
    Christmas lunch today with 18-20 friends in a target seat. Mostly traditional Torys and they know my politics. Overall view? Who is Ed Davey and what do LibDems...
  • Nonconformistradical
    @Tom Harney How would you define ready? What are your smart objectives - you’ll need those to define ready?...
  • Tom Harney
    My opinion is that when talking about a General Election almost the only thing we can control is whether the party is ready for it....
  • Peter Hirst
    We are all mentally healthy at birth. What is needed is some basic knowledge about how our minds work and what can go wrong with them. It is even more important...