INDUSTRY leaders have made a direct appeal to Boris Johnson to “bang heads together” after an extraordinary spat between ministers over the energy crisis.
The Treasury appeared to dash hopes of financial aid for sectors struggling to cope with soaring costs in a row with the Business Department.
UK Steel director-general Gareth Stace said the Prime Minister must intervene or he will also have a steel crisis to deal with. He urged Mr Johnson – who is on holiday with wife Carrie and one-year-old son Wilfred in Marbella, Spain – to “bang heads together” in Government to find a solution.
The family are understood to be at Conservative peer Zac Goldsmith’s palatial home that reportedly costs up to £25,000 a week to rent. They are expected to fly back on Wednesday. It is Mr Johnson’s first foreign holiday since the start of the Covid pandemic.
Back home, UK steelmakers are facing energy prices five times higher than the average of last year. Shutdowns will become longer and more frequent and the industry has warned it faces long-term damage without help.
A £50million cash injection is being made by Liberty Steel, which will safeguard hundreds of jobs in the UK.
The announcement is part of a wider restructure of GFG Alliance, Liberty’s owner, which was forced to seek funding when its key lender collapsed.
The cash will allow their Rotherham plant to reopen after being closed since spring.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng yesterday said he was in talks with Chancellor Rishi Sunak about help for businesses pushed to the brink by high prices.
But the Treasury accused Mr Kwarteng of “making things up” and denied discussions had taken place.
Mr Kwarteng met the Energy Intensive Users Group, which includes steel, chemical, paper and glass manufacturers, last week and told broadcasters yesterday that “we need to help them get through this situation”.
The Cabinet minister said he was “working very closely” with Chancellor Rishi Sunak. But a Treasury source told Sky News: it was not the first time the Business Secretary “has made things up in interviews. To be crystal clear the Treasury are not involved in any talks”.
An insider later told the Daily Express the Treasury was “just setting facts straight” that it has “not been involved in talks” about financial support with the Business Department.
Some critics attacked Mr Johnson for taking. “Brinkwire Summary News”.