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Energy crisis latest - ‘free for all’ energy market not working, says GMB, as two more firms go bust

Starmer urges government to ‘come out of hiding’ to support crisis-hit industry

BRITAIN’S “free-for-all” energy market is not working, union GMB has warned after two more firms went bust.

Pure Planet and Colorado Energy’s collapse on Wednesday — the latest victims of soaring wholesale gas prices — is set to hit 250,000 customers.

Nearly two million people have now lost their energy supplier in recent weeks during the crisis, largely prompted by increased demand during the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. 

GMB national secretary Andy Prendergast said: “Two more energy companies have gone bust — and they will not be last.

“The UK’s free-for-all energy market is not working. It’s failing consumers, workers and the planet.

“We need more regulation, a cohesive strategy and a rethink of the price cap or we will see more and more businesses going to the wall.”

Manufacturers which require a lot of energy to produce their goods, such as steel- and chemical-makers, have warned that they may need to shut down production this winter to avoid going out of business. 

Over the last week, Tory ministers have held emergency discussions with industry leaders who have slammed current government support plans as no more than a “flimsy sticking plaster.”

Before he jetted off for a holiday in Spain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson reportedly backed proposals being developed by Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng for state loans to firms threatened with closure. 

The move follows a Whitehall turf war between Mr Kwarteng and the Treasury last weekend, with the Treasury denying there are any plans for ministers to act.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called on the government to “come out of hiding” and “get a grip on the energy crisis” before the situation deteriorates. 

“They should be convening task forces on a sector-by-sector basis to assess need in each sector, and devising bespoke solutions. 

“While other countries step up and act, the UK is staggeringly complacently sitting back.

“With millions already feeling the pinch as energy prices rise, and businesses and jobs at huge risk, we should be supporting industry to stop this escalating into a winter crisis.”

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves pledged that a Labour government would be “collaborative, working alongside businesses, workers, industry bodies and unions to pull together in a national endeavour.”

A government spokesperson said ministers “continue to engage constructively with industry to further understand and to help mitigate the impacts of high global gas prices.”

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