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Saturday, December 9, 2023

Truss must take ‘decisive, radical action’

Liz Truss urged to take 'decisive, radical action' to save North East families from energy bill disaster

By Daniel Holland and James Robinson

Liz Truss has been urged to take “decisive, radical action” to help North East families survive the cost of living crisis.

The foreign secretary was confirmed as the new leader of the Conservative Party on Monday, chosen by Tory members over rival Rishi Sunak by a margin of 81,326 votes to 60,399, and will succeed Boris Johnson as prime minister on Tuesday.

She has promised to “deliver on the energy crisis”, with reports suggesting that the new PM could introduce a freeze on bills in order to ease the burden on households faced with escalating costs this winter.

The Labour leader of Newcastle City Council warned Ms Truss has “no time to waste” in combating the crisis.

Nick Kemp, leader of Newcastle City Council. Image: Newcastle City Council.

Cllr Nick Kemp said: “Millions of families and businesses up and down the country are on the brink of financial disaster. They have waited weeks for the Conservatives to appoint a new Prime Minister.

“Now we need a significant package of help and a clear plan of action to get the country through the winter and the looming recession.

“Decisive, radical action is required now. No more excuses and no more delays.”

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness demanded “radical solutions” to the energy crisis and funding to replace more than 1,000 officers lost in the region since 2010.

Conservative MP Dehenna Davison. Image: Wikipedia

Conservative MP Dehenna Davison, who backed Ms Truss’ leadership campaign, has also called for action to help people through a “difficult winter”.

The Bishop Auckland MP told the PA news agency: “It’s the thing that I think is causing the most anxiety for people at the moment.

“We need to look at short-term effects and helping through this difficult winter, but obviously the longer-term as well – making sure we alleviate some of those pressures by making sure we’ve got a good supply at home. She’s committed to do that within a week and I think that’s absolutely the right approach.”

Blyth Valley MP Ian Levy, another who was elected in 2019 as the Tories claimed victories in a number of traditionally Labour-held seats around the North East,  added: “I voted for Liz because she has a clear vision for what needs to be done to address the challenges facing us as a country. I look forward to hearing her plans to support people through the global cost of living crisis very soon and to working with her and all of my Conservative colleagues to deliver the promises of the 2019 manifesto.”

However, Labour’s Catherine McKinnell hit out at the new PM for having been “at the heart of the Conservative governments that have let down our region and country repeatedly since 2010”.

The Newcastle North MP said: “Meanwhile, households in Newcastle and across the North East are facing up to the greatest crisis in a generation, with the soaring cost of living, a climate emergency, underinvestment in public services, increasing child poverty and broken promises on levelling up and infrastructure investment. Britain deserves so much better than what the Conservatives have to offer.”

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Tory MP for Berwick, said Ms Truss had her “full support”, while a spokesperson for the Northumberland Conservatives added: “She knows the county well and is committed to continuing to support the growth and prosperity through investment we have witnessed over the last few years.

“She has outlined her intention to provide support throughout this cost of living crisis and we look forward to details being given as soon as practicable.”

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