Downing Street’s energy crisis summit offered cash-strapped Brits no answer

11/08/2022. London, United Kingdom. Prime Minister Boris Johnson attended an energy round table at No11 Downing Street. The roundtable was hosted by the Chancellor of the Exchequer Nadhim Zahawi. Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng also attended along with CEO’s/Representatives of energy company’s. Picture by Kyle Heller / No 10 Downing Street. WFH on Zoom: Richard Miesen (RWE), Keith Anderson (Scottish Power), Alistair Phillips-Davies (SSE), Jim Lightfoot (Intergen), Greg Jackson (Octopus), Chris O'Shea (Centrica), John Pettigrew (National Grid). -- Portrait of Winston Churchill by Ambrose McEvoy (c1911-1915)

A DOWNING Street summit with energy bosses yesterday offered little hope for hard-up Brits.

Lame duck PM Boris Johnson even said he would spare the firms further taxes if it were up to him.

A Downing Street summit with energy bosses yesterday offered little hope for hard-up Brits

E.On chief executive Michael Lewis and Ofgem chief executive Jonathan Brearley arrive

With bills now predicted to hit £5,000 next year, fat cats from companies like EDF, E.ON and British Gas owners Centrica met   Mr Johnson, Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.

Ministers are looking at ways to knock another £500 off bills as well as force energy producers to up production.

Boris told the meeting that hitting profits with a new windfall tax would be up to the next Chancellor — but added: “If it was up to me I wouldn’t go down that route”.

However bosses were warned that massive bills would ultimately ruin the industry if ordinary people cannot pay up.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Johnson said: “We know that this will be a difficult winter for people across the UK, which is why we are doing everything we can to support them and must continue to do so.

“Following our meeting today, we will keep urging the electricity sector to continue working on ways we can ease the cost of living pressures and to invest further and faster in British energy security.”

Mr Zahawi said they had agreed to work together to reduce costs: “In the spirit of national unity.”

But cabinet minister Mark Spencer, who backs Rishi Sunak for the next Tory leader, said there warned there would be a tax grab from them if the ex-Chancellor gets the keys to No10.

Bosses of power companies were keen to call the round table meeting “constructive” but insiders later admitted the summit “just seemed to go around the houses”.

Another added that there was “lots of agreement on the need to find ways to support customers”.

Tom Glover, UK head of German-based energy company RWE, said: “The meeting was very constructive.”

Also present was Jonathan Brearley, who receives a reported £300,000 in pay and perks to head regulator Ofgem, which sets the energy price cap.

Tom Glover, left, is the UK head of German-based energy company RWE

Also present was Clare Harbord, Group Director of Corporate Affairs at Drax