Wednesday, September 22News That Matters

Politics

UK considers joining existing US-Mexico-Canada trade deal as hopes of standalone US agreement fade

Politics
Ministers are considering efforts to join an existing free trade agreement between the US, Mexico and Canada - or to strike a series of mini-deals with America - after Boris Johnson appeared to admit a standalone UK-US free trade deal was not an imminent prospect.On his visit to New York and Washington DC this week, the prime minister has failed to commit to securing a free trade agreement between Britain and America by the time of the next general election in 2024. He has also acknowledged that US President Joe Biden has "a lot of fish to fry" as he played down the chances of an agreement being struck soon between the two countries. Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player Biden reveals concern over NI Protocol A senior government figure has suggested that...

PM says energy crisis is a ‘short-term problem’ and dismisses risk of Christmas disruption

Politics
The prime minister has described Britain's energy crisis as a "short-term problem" and said he does not think there will be disruption to food supplies at Christmas.Speaking to Sky News political editor Beth Rigby in New York, Boris Johnson said: "There is a short term problem caused by the hydrocarbon price spike, the gas price spike, caused basically by the huge demand in Asia. "The market is going to start fixing it, but in the meantime the government will do everything we can to help people, to help fix it, to make sure that we smooth things over." Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player Business secretary: 'Challenging days ahead' He described it as a "function of the global economy waking up after a long state of suspended animation" due to the COVID...

State-backed loans being considered for energy firms that take customers from companies that go bust

Politics
Some of the UK's biggest energy companies could be offered state-backed loans in return for taking on customers from smaller suppliers if they go under, as soaring global gas prices throw the industry into crisis, the business secretary has told Sky News.Speaking to Kay Burley, Kwasi Kwarteng also said that the carbon dioxide shortage that has affected some food and drink production could be solved by the end of the week. Asked about the energy crisis, Mr Kwarteng said there are "lots of options" at the disposal of ministers. Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player Your energy bills might shoot up - here's what to do "It costs a company to absorb up to hundreds of thousands of customers from another company that's failed, that costs money, and there may we...

Fears continue over future of energy firms as minister insists price cap must ‘remain in place’

Politics
Fears remain over the future of a number of UK energy providers due to surging gas costs as it was confirmed the price cap must "remain in place".Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng held a crisis meeting with the industry then announced to the Commons that ministers would not be bailing out energy firms and that the price cap would be "staying". Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player 'Energy price cap to stay' says Minister In a joint statement issued late on Monday evening, Mr Kwarteng and Ofgem chief executive Jonathan Brearley confirmed they had taken a unified position over the price ceiling continuing."Central to any next steps is our clear and agreed position that the energy price cap will remain in place," they said. Mr Kwarteng had earlier told MPs...

PM tells world leaders he is growing ‘increasingly frustrated’ at their efforts to tackle climate change

Politics
Boris Johnson has criticised other world leaders over their efforts to tackle climate change, telling them he is growing "increasingly frustrated" that their commitments are "nowhere near enough".Speaking during a meeting at the United Nations in New York, the prime minister said the gap between what has been promised by industrialised nations and what they have so far delivered remains "vast". Co-hosting a discussion on the issue at the UN General Assembly, Mr Johnson urged fellow leaders to renew their efforts to meet a key financing pledge to help developing nations. The PM wants to get countries to commit to giving $100bn (£73bn) a year in support to developing nations to cut their carbon emissions and shield themselves against climate change.But he earlier told reporters there was onl...
Johnson admits it’s ‘going to be a stretch’ to secure climate promises by COP26

Johnson admits it’s ‘going to be a stretch’ to secure climate promises by COP26

Politics
Boris Johnson has admitted he is facing an uphill battle to convince world leaders to put up hard cash and hard commitments to reduce carbon emissions.Speaking on his way to New York for the UN General Assembly Summit, the prime minister conceded he had a 40% chance of failure in securing the $100bn he needs in financial pledges from rich nations to help developing countries go green by the critical COP26 climate change summit in November. "I think getting it all [the commitments] this week is going to be a stretch."But I think getting it done by COP - 6 out of 10. It's going to be tough. People need to understand this is crucial for the world. "By the end of October, countries are going to have to come up with bigger NDCs [nationally determined contributions] and showing what they're goin...

Boris Johnson calls on richest countries to meet $100bn climate pledge

Politics
Rich countries must do more to help developing nations cut carbon emissions, Boris Johnson will tell other world leaders at a high-level gathering in New York.The prime minister will be hosting the meeting on climate change with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. It is understood the PM is likely to focus on coal, cash support, cars and trees, which soak up carbon dioxide.Mr Johnson is also expected to discuss global warming with President Joe Biden in a meeting at the White House in Washington.Ahead of the gathering in New York, the PM said richer nations have "reaped the benefits of untrammelled pollution for generations". Advertisement This has often been "at the expense of developing countries", he added. "As those countries now try to grow their economies in a clean,...

China’s Xi yet to confirm attendance at climate change talks, admits COP26 president

Politics
China's Xi Jinping is yet to commit to attending this year's climate change summit in Glasgow, COP26 President Alok Sharma has admitted.Earlier this month, Mr Sharma held two days of talks in China ahead of the international summit being hosted by the UK in November. But, asked on Sky News' Trevor Phillips On Sunday show if Chinese president Mr Xi had committed to being in Scotland for the gathering of world leaders, Mr Sharma said: "No, not yet."He also admitted that China would be "key" to the climate change talks, as the country is one of the world's biggest polluters."There is no doubt that China is going to be part of the key to all of this," Mr Sharma said. Advertisement "They are the biggest emitter in the world. "What President Xi Jinping has said is that they are goi...

‘Freedoms need to be defended’: Truss hails AUKUS submarine deal amid deepening row with France

Politics
New Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has defended the UK's "hard-headed" security pact with the US and Australia, amid a deepening diplomatic row with France.The AUKUS deal saw the UK, Australia and the US form a security pact to develop and deploy a new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines, adding to the Western military presence in the Pacific region. Ms Truss said the agreement showed Britain's readiness to be "hard-headed in defending our interests", adding that it could result in hundreds of new jobs.France was outraged by the deal which sees them losing out on a £30bn contract to supply conventional submarines to Australia, who opted for nuclear-powered subs provided by Britain and the US.In response, they recalled their ambassadors to the US and Australia, although there was no similar or...
Gas supply this winter ‘not a cause for immediate concern’, says business secretary

Gas supply this winter ‘not a cause for immediate concern’, says business secretary

Politics
Gas supply this winter is "not a cause for immediate concern", the UK's business secretary has reassured, following reports that a spike in prices could threaten food production and other industries.Kwasi Kwarteng posted a series of tweets after holding meetings with senior executives from the energy industry to discuss the impact of high global gas prices - blamed on high global demand, maintenance issues and lower solar and wind energy output - on Saturday. The UK benefits from having a diverse range of gas supply sources, with sufficient capacity to more than meet demand. The UK’s gas system continues to operate reliably and we do not expect supply emergencies this winter. (2/7)— Kwasi Kwarteng (@KwasiKwarteng) September 18, 2021 It comes amid concerns over whether some people wil...