Minister won't say if you'll need extra layers to get through winter

People won’t need to wrap up warm to avert an energy crisis this winter, the energy minister has suggested.

Amid fears that energy bills are going to rise by £500 a year, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said it was up to individuals how they might approach the coming months.

Asked if he is advising people to wear another woolly jumper and pair of socks, he told Sky News: ‘It’s up to people – it’s amazing how different people’s cold thresholds can be very different.

‘Some people feel comfortable wrapped up in lots of different clothes, others wear relatively little – I think people should be sensible. I think people should do what they feel comfortable with.’

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Pressed if he was telling people to turn down their thermostat and wrap up warmer, he said: ‘My job as an energy minister is not to tell people how many layers of clothing they should wear, that’s not really my job.’

Presenter Trevor Philips asked if individuals reducing their energy consumption would help the country avoid black-outs this winter.

Mr Kwarteng said: ‘I’m not going down that route. I think people are perfectly sensible with energy. I think people understand what their use is.

‘All I am attempting to guarantee is security of supply to make sure we have a free-flowing energy system – that is what we are focused on.’

Asked about his previous advice that people will have to ‘tough out’, the current supply chain crisis, he said ‘I don’t remember that at all’.

He denied using the phrase, despite his quote being shown on the screen in front of him.

Mr Kwarteng was unable to guarantee there will be no interruptions to gas supply this winter but said he is ‘as certain as I could be’ that it will continue unhindered.

He said: ‘I’m very committed and convinced that we will have full energy supply.

‘I’m as certain as I could be. Because obviously this is a global issue, we’ve seen right across the world real supply chain pressures, you’ve seen the Chinese have power blackouts, they’re rationing supply, here in the UK our job is to make sure there is minimal disruption.’

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