Don’t cut out off families, energy firms warned, as Chancellor says he is ‘concerned’ people will freeze this winter

EMBARGOED TO 0001 MONDAY AUGUST 29 File photo dated 25/08/22 general view of a domestic radiator room thermostat. Nearly one in four adults plan never to turn their heating on this winter, polling suggests, as average bills are set to rocket while the temperature drops. Issue date: Monday August 29, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS CostofLiving Heating. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire

ENERGY firms have been warned not to cut off Brits struggling to pay bills this winter, amid fears families could freeze to death.

In a desperate plea to gas giants this morning, Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi said no household should be blocked from turning the heaters on.

Annual energy bills are predicted to topple £6,500 in April next year

Nadhim Zahawi is in New York to discuss the energy crisis with politicians, bankers and business leaders

Next April annual energy bills are predicted to hit an eye watering £6,500. 

Meanwhile, inflation continues to spiral and could even reach 22 per cent next year, a post-war record.

In one of his bleakest messages yet, the Chancellor admitted he is “deeply concerned” about families freezing from the winter cold.

Speaking from New York, where he is meeting politicians and business leaders to discuss the energy crisis, Mr Zahawi told Sky News: “No one should be cut off. I’m working with the companies and non government organisations to make sure those people who really are struggling get help.”

The Chancellor added he is looking at a wide range of options to help hard-up Brits with their bills, beyond the £1,200 cost of living payment that benefit recipients are given. 

Exact support packages won’t be announced until at least next week, when the new PM is finally chosen.

Writing in HOAR today, frontrunner Liz Truss vowed to “deliver immediate support to ensure people are not facing unaffordable fuel bills” this winter.

It’s her clearest promise yet that help for the most vulnerable is on its way.

But specific details won’t be revealed until the winner of the Tory leadership race is formally declared on Monday. 

Mr Zahawi said that “nothing is off the table” for the next PM.

He vowed: “We’re looking at all the options.”

The Chancellor said that “targeted help” is important at this time.

Households and businesses suffering the most from the cost of living crisis will be the focus.

To shore up Britain’s future energy supplies the government will invest in nuclear power.

Boris Johnson is expected to approve a £30 billion nuclear power station in Suffolk today.