Boris Johnson ‘to urge Truss and Sunak to keep green investment amid cost-of-living crisis

·3-min read

Britain’s next prime minister must not give up on green energy investments while devising measures to ease the cost-of-living crisis, Boris Johnson will urge.

In a bid to futureproof his legacy, the outgoing PM is expected to tell Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss – the final candidates in the race to succeed Mr Johnson – that the UK must bolster its commitment to net zero while also supporting struggling households, The Telegraph reports.

The remarks will likely act as a warning to the two No 10 hopefuls to stick to Mr Johnson’s ambition of building a new nuclear reactor every year and back a five-fold increase in offshore wind power by 2030.

Mr Johnson’s anticipated comments will be especially pertinent to the campaign of the foreign secretary, who has promised to halt green levies on fuel bills.

Ms Truss earlier claimed in her bid for Downing Street that she would only back the 2050 target for net zero “in a way that doesn’t harm businesses or consumers”.

The leadership contest frontrunner is also said to be weighing up a five per cent cut in VAT and the raising of income tax personal allowances.

A government source told The Telegraph: “Boris is passionate about the energy strategy. There is a desire to say something this week about how everything we have done has kept us in a much better position in the medium and long term, through investing in nuclear and wind.

“All of the work in renewable energy will make sure that in the medium and long term we will be more self-reliant and that will ease costs for consumers.

“Throughout the years, from Cop26 to the energy strategy and now with the cost of living challenges, it’s a real priority. We have the domestic infrastructure and technology to be more resilient and self-reliant to manage these challenges.

“We have shown over the course of this year that we can both focus on helping people in the immediate future but also invest for the medium and long term future so we are not compromised like this again.

“Clearly we need to help people cope with bills this winter, but there is an even bigger need to address the supply side and ensure we have homegrown affordable energy for people and businesses as soon as we can. Too many governments have ducked this.”

Earlier this month, Mr Johnson greenlit funding for a new multibillion-pound Sizewell C nuclear reactor in Suffolk, triggering concerns among some of Ms Truss’s allies that it could limit her economic vision.

Private funding will be sought for the project estimated to cost £20-30 billion.

The government is then set to make a final decision on public investment early next year, with it expected to buy a 20 per cent stake in the plant, costing up to £6 billion.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, who is tipped to be Ms Truss’s chancellor if she wins the leadership race, is said to be “massively” on board with the plan.