Jeremy Hunt is facing anger from Tory MPs after the Chancellor told households to cut their individual energy consumption. Conservative MP Marco Longhi told Express.co.uk it is a “ridiculous thing to suggest”. Meanwhile, Sir John Redwood said the Government should “concentrate on cutting energy waste in government itself”.
Mr Hunt urged households to cut their usage by 15 percent, telling the Treasury Committee yesterday that “everyone” will need to play their part.
The Chancellor told the Committee: “In the long run we’re going need everyone to help us crack this problem if we’re not going to have a huge additional burden on taxpayers which ultimately will lead to the kind of high taxes I certainly don’t believe are desirable in the long run.
“We will always be there to help poorer households, the way we do that will change.
“But for most people, we need you to play your part in reducing our energy dependency on what Putin chooses to do in Ukraine, that’s why we’ve got this national ambition to reduce energy consumption by 15 per cent.
“We’re a couple of per cent higher [than the EU] but other countries are doing the same kind of thing.
“That isn’t just at a national level but that’s for every household.”
He said that households could save themselves around £500 in the years to come if they hit that target, calling for people to “change their behaviour”.
Responding to Mr Hunt’s comments, Mr Longhi, a member of the Common Sense Group of Tory MPs, told Express.co.uk: “I and my family are consuming less energy.
“I am very lucky. I am on an MP’s salary. We should all join in with saving energy it’s the right thing to do. But I’m not going to say to people who simply cannot do that – the elderly and the vulnerable – that they should be using less energy.
“I think it’s a ridiculous thing to suggest, they need to stay warm.”
He added: “Do we at home wear extra layers? Yes. But I’m not for a moment going to suggest that I should be telling other people to do the same.
“People are grown up enough to make these choices for themselves and it’s rather patronising for me as a politician to talk down to people.”
Writing on Twitter, Sir John Redwood said there is “no need for Government to waste more money on telling the rest of us to save money on energy as if we were not doing that.
“They should concentrate on cutting energy waste in Government itself.
“Have they turned down and turned off in all their offices and buildings when they can?”
However, other Tory MPs backed the advice, with Philip Davies telling Express.co.uk that it is ” very sensible for the Government to have a campaign to show people how they might be able to reduce their energy bills.”
He added: “What I’m against, people say it is the nanny state, is when the government tells people what they can and can’t do. This is just advice.”