UK News 'Not the government's job': Chancellor appears to rule out helping businesses with gas prices
'Factories 'days away' from stopping production due to energy crisis'
Bosses behind energy-heavy industries are said to be considering temporary shut downs due to spiralling gas prices - which threaten to push firms into the red.Bosses behind energy-heavy firms are said to be considering temporary shut downs due to spiralling gas prices - which threaten to turn profits to loss.
The chancellor has appeared to rule out helping businesses with soaring gas prices, saying "it's not the government's job" to manage the costs of individual products.
Asked if he would accept some, Rishi Sunak said he "believes in a market economy".
He said the government has been working "very constructively" with firms and is "doing everything we can" to address.
"They are global in nature, so we can't fix every single problem, but I feel there'll be a good provision of goods for everybody and we are working out ways to remove blockages where we can," he said, speaking after a meeting with G7 finance ministers in Washington.
Germany, China and India join UK in facing energy crisis over gas, oil and coal shortages and soaring prices
The crisis around the world has seen power plants shut, electricity rationed and even use of office lifts restrictedThe continuing crisis in the UK has left some energy companies going bust and homes and businesses struggling to pay soaring costs and bills.
The chancellor stood firm on the government's refusal to increase immigration to address.
"I think there's a broader point about historic reliance on immigration," he said, "and that's something we've discussed in this country together and collectively decided that's not the right model going forward.
"We want to move to a higher wage, higher skill economy."
He admitted that would take time and wanted to make sure it was accompanied by increases in productivity in order to avoid a rise in inflation.
Addressing the backlog of shipping containers at Felixstowe, the UK's largest commercial port, the chancellor said ports in the US are facing similar problems, naming Los Angeles and Long Beach as examples.
Another nightmare before Xmas: Britain's busiest port is in turmoil
Felixstowe in Suffolk has become severely congested to the point that Maersk, the world's largest container shipping company, is diverting its big vessels away from the UK.Felixstowe in Suffolk has become severely congested to the point that Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping company, is diverting its big vessels away from the UK because the dockside is full and there are not enough truck drivers to pick up and deliver fully loaded containers and return the empty ones.
"These are things that many countries are facing and we're looking at all the different elements of the supply chain and where we can make a difference, where it's in our control then of course we're going to do everything we can," he said.
To tackle the issue in the US, President Joe Biden announced a deal today to expand operations at the Port of Los Angeles which would make it a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week operation.
The decision by Merck, a major global shipping company, to divert a large container ship from the UK to elsewhere in Europe has sparked concerns about shortages of products in time of Christmas, which the chancellor dismissed.
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"I'm confident there'll be a good amount of Christmas presents available for everyone to buy," he said.
On the subject of the Northern Ireland protocol, he said the government will look through the EU's proposed changes and should work "intensively" with the bloc to "see if we can find some common ground to a lasting solution".
Covid-19 sees nearly 400,000 UK businesses disappear in one year .
Figures published today by BEIS show there were 5.6million private sector businesses at the start of the year, some 6.5 per cent less than the previous year. Total employment within these businesses fell by 13 per cent.Most sectors saw a decline in the number of businesses in operation, with the broad mining and utilities sector seeing the largest decline of 26 per cent. © Provided by This Is Money ( Construction saw the biggest numerical decline, with 79,000 businesses closing, merging or taken over by another business.