Ministers are accused of ‘crossing their fingers’ for a warm winter to ease energy costs crisis after sending panicking businesses briefing about ‘mild’ weather being likely
- Kwasi Kwarteng said to have sent firms weather report about likely mild winter
- Business Secretary accused of ‘crossing his fingers’ that energy crisis will ease
- Rocketing wholesale gas prices have sent a dozen energy suppliers to the wall
Kwasi Kwarteng was today accused of ‘crossing his fingers’ for the energy crisis to ease after he sent a weather prediction to panicking companies.
The Business Secretary is said to have shared a private Met Office briefing suggesting there is likely to be a mild winter – something that could help ease pressure in the coming months.
Rocketing wholesale energy prices globally have seen a dozen small energy suppliers collapse in the UK since September.
And the effects are being felt by consumers, with the increase in the price cap announced at the beginning of this month on track to be followed by another brutal rise in April.
Kwasi Kwarteng (pictured) is said to have shared a private Met Office briefing suggesting there is likely to be a mild winter – something that could help ease pressure in the coming months
Rocketing wholesale energy prices globally have seen a dozen small energy suppliers collapse in the UK since September. This Ofgem chart shows the scale of the increase in gas prices over recent months
Ministers have insisted they are doing everything possible to ease the strain, but blamed the issues on the world’s economy surging back into life after coronavirus.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has also been accused of manipulating gas supplies in an effort to bully Europe over plans for a new pipeline.
According to the Financial Times, Mr Kwarteng shared a Met Office briefing with energy suppliers which said the ‘most likely scenario’ is that this winter will be wet and mild.
‘For the late winter period from January to February 2022, the most likely scenario is for an unsettled period of wet, windy and mild spells,’ it said.
The briefing went further than the Met Office’s most recently published three month ‘outlook’, issued three weeks ago, which says that period up to December is ‘significantly more likely than normal to be mild’, but adds ‘cold spells are still possible’.
The report was produced for contingency planning and ‘for planners in government and business who make risk-based decisions’.
The Met Office insisted it prepares long-term outlooks which consider the percentage chances for temperatures, and can be used for contingency planning.
It stressed they are not forecasts but used to assess risk.
‘The whole area of long-range forecasting is pretty experimental as far as any meteorological organisation is concerned,’ the Met Office told the paper.
Shadow business secretary Ed Miliband said: ‘This is a new low for government energy policy.
‘Reduced to crossing his fingers for a mild winter, Kwasi Kwarteng is showing just how much a decade of inaction from Government has left us vulnerable.’
Russian President Vladimir Putin has also been accused of manipulating gas supplies in an effort to bully Europe over plans for a new pipeline