Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has scrapped a taskforce launched by his predecessor to shore up the UK’s energy security by striking a series of long-term deals with gas suppliers.
The Energy Supply Taskforce, announced by Liz Truss towards the beginning of her short tenure in No 10 as part of a package of measures to reform the “broken” market, has been officially wound down after just three months.
Spearheaded by Madelaine McTernan, who led the UK’s vaccine taskforce, the team aimed to agree long-term contracts with both domestic and international suppliers to cut energy charges and boost the security of Britain’s stock.
Ms Truss said at the time that the fallout from Russia’s assault on Ukraine had exposed the “flaws” in the UK’s approach to energy security, declaring her intent to end “short-term thinking” on the issue “once and for all”.
She said the new taskforce had already entered into negotiations in September.
But a government source confirmed her successor has scrapped it, saying it “doesn’t make sense” to lock in long-term deals while gas is so expensive.
“Winding down the taskforce is the right decision – while it was sensible in September for the previous administration to explore these contracts, locking in long term contracts while gas prices are this high just doesn’t make sense,” they said.
The source said the taskforce was only ever “one option on the table”, pointing to a “whole range of other actions” being taken to bolster the UK’s energy resilience, including financial backing for the new Sizewell C nuclear power station in Suffolk.
A government spokeswoman said: “The Energy Supply Taskforce was set up in September 2022 as part of efforts to boost domestic energy security.
“While the government is continuing these efforts and remains completely committed to strengthening our energy resilience, we have concluded that direct purchases of gas are not the best intervention in the market.”
The Truss administration had said the taskforce and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) would also negotiate with renewable producers in a bid to cut their prices.