Boris Johnson signals he will protect green levies on energy bills despite Tory calls to scrap them

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Energy bills shot up for 22 million households at the start of this month (PA)
Energy bills shot up for 22 million households at the start of this month (PA)

Boris Johnson has signalled he is ready to fight to defend green levies on energy bills, amid growing pressure for them to be scrapped.

The prime minister lashed out at “prejudice” against the levies, which fund renewable energy schemes at an average cost of £153 a year to households.

Backbench Tories are pushing for them to be stripped out of domestic gas and electricity bills to help consumers facing soaring costs.

Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng this week faced criticism after failing to deny reports that their removal is being considered as part of the government’s response to the cost of living crisis.

Boris Johnson speaks to the media on board his flight to India (PA Wire)
Boris Johnson speaks to the media on board his flight to India (PA Wire)

But asked if the levy is for the chop when the government unveils an expected assistance package in the autumn, Mr Johnson today mounted a fierce defence of the measure.

“I want to do everything we can to alleviate the cost of living,” the prime minister told reporters travelling with him on a trade trip to India.

“But actually – this is very important what I’m saying – there’s a lot of prejudice against the green agenda.

“Actually green technology – green, sustainable electricity – can help to reduce bills.

“Overall if you look at what we have done with renewables it has helped to reduce bills over the last few years and will continue to do so.”

Kwasi Kwarteng faced criticism over the levies this week (PA)
Kwasi Kwarteng faced criticism over the levies this week (PA)

The prime minister added: “That’s why one of the things I want to do is use this moment to really drive towards more offshore wind turbines.

“This country used to be number one for offshore wind, then China overtook us. We need to regain our lead, We need to build them faster and we can do it."

Mr Johnson’s comments will hearten environmentalists who fear that the cost of living crisis could be used as a smokescreen for the removal of official support for the wind and solar needed to meet the UK’s target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has provided households with up to £350 in annual savings on household energy bills, through a £9bn rebate scheme and the scrapping of council tax for households in bands A to D.

But he has so far maintained the green levies – which have continued under successive Tory prime ministers since David Cameron.

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