‘Made things up!’ Treasury slaps down Business Secretary in energy bailout spat

Kwasi Kwarteng discusses struggling energy suppliers

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Mr Kwarteng, 46, has been accused of “making things up” after the Business Secretary claimed he was working with the Chancellor of the Exchequer to over plans to bailout British factories. Speaking to Trevor Phillips on Sky News, Mr Kwarteng said: “I spoke very extensively with [the] energy intensive users industry on Friday.

“We have already over the last few years given lots of support on electricity, on electricity pricing, in particular power.

“And we are speaking constantly with them to see if there is a way through it and are also engaging Treasury as well.

“I can’t promise anything as yet but we are absolutely focused on solving this problem.”

But the Business Secretary revealed to the BBC he had not yet asked the Treasury to fund a subsidy for the energy industry.

Mr Kwarteng said: “I have not asked for billions.

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“We’ve got existing schemes.

“I’m working very closely with Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, to get us through this situation.”

The 46-year-old’s comments come at a time when soaring energy costs could force major factories to close unless the Government intervenes.

But the Brexit-backing MP for Spelthorne has since been rebutted by sources inside Mr Sunak’s department.

“This is not the first time the BEIS [Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy] Secretary has made things up in interviews,” a source told Sky News.

“To be crystal clear, the Treasury is not involved in any talks.”

Another source told the Telegraph that the “Treasury is not in talks with anyone” and added the department “haven’t seen any proposals”.

According to the broadsheet, sources close to Mr Kwarteng have since claimed the Treasury has been in talks with the BEIS but there has not yet been a request for funds.

The squabble between BEIS and the Treasury comes less than a day after Boris Johnson jetted off to Marbella to enjoy a family holiday with Carrie and the couple’s son Wilfred.

Tory MPs are said to have claimed the row was typical of Cabinet bickering when the Prime Minister is away.

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However, the MP for Brigg and Goole Andrew Percy, warned: “If the Government is serious about levelling up then people in the Treasury need to understand that much of the Northern economy is underpinned by heavy industry.”

Mr Percy, whose seat straddles several industrial workplaces in North Lincolnshire and the East Riding of Yorkshire, added: “It is no good pretending that we can bury our heads in the sand to this problem or pretend in some way that industry just needs to do more itself.

“You can’t level up if you end up levelling heavy industry in the North of England.

“There appears to be a bias in certain parts of the Treasury against heavy industry – they are seeing it as something of the past. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“This is a very real problem that is in part of the Government’s own making and therefore can only be solved with government intervention.”

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