Labour Says The Government Should Be Making Plans To Ration Energy In The UK

Shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds's suggestion was immediately dismissed by cabinet minister Grant Shapps.
Johnathan Reynolds
Johnathan Reynolds

Ministers should be making plans to ration the UK’s energy supply, according to Labour.

Shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds said the radical move was preferable to “shopping from one authoritarian regime to the next for fossil fuels”.

Germany, Russia and the Netherlands have also said they are considering rationing as a way of deal soaring global oil and gas prices, partly caused by the war in Ukraine.

Appearing on the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme, Reynolds was asked in the UK should follow suit.

He said: “We should be making those plans and the government should be preparing, not necessarily in public, for that situation.

“There’s a lot of complacency in this country about the relative lower exposure to Russian gas that we have. But we should bear in mind that part of the supply that comes to this country from, for instance, Norway or from the liquified natural gas that comes into the terminals at Wales, that is partly because Russian gas is fulfilling the demand in central Europe.

“I think what the government should announce is a plan which is not simply shopping from one authoritarian regime to the next for fossil fuels, but that long-term plan on renewable, on nuclear on energy efficiency that would make the difference.”

However, his suggestion was immediately rejected by transport secretary Grant Shapps.

He told the same programme: “We don’t see rationing being part of our approach to this, and nor should it be.”

On Times Radio later, Reynolds insisted he did not support rationing energy.

He said: “That would be a disaster for households and for businesses.

“The fact that you’re even asking the question is an indictment of Conservative energy policy over the past decade and the fact that we still haven’t had a plan from the government even though they said it was a priority and an emergency.”

The row came as Boris Johnson prepares to publish the government’s long-awaited energy strategy on Thursday as he tries to end the need for Britain to import any oil and gas from Russia, as well as tackle soaring bills.

Expanding the number of nuclear power plants in the UK is expected to form a central part of the plans.

But Cabinet splits on increasing the number of onshore windfarms erupted into the open when Grant Shapps made clear his opposition to the developments.

He told Sophy Ridge On Sunday: “I don’t favour a vast increase in onshore windfarms for pretty obvious reasons - they sit on the hills there and can create something of an eyesore for communities as well as problems of noise as well.

“So I think for reasons of environmental protection, the way to go with this is largely offshore.”

He added: “My thinking is what you really want to do is develop in other ways - nuclear, we will have offshore wind. I don’t think you want a huge expansion of onshore wind. There may be cases where it makes sense, but by and large we’ve established that offshore works very well and it provides a lot of our electricity already.”


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