UK Facing ‘Economic Warfare’ Waged By Putin, Labour MP Says

A Labour frontbencher today warned that the UK is facing “economic warfare” waged by Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Shadow defence secretary John Healey accused Russia of fighting a form of “hybrid warfare” by cutting gas supplies to Europe.

It comes as energy bills are expected to top £5,300 annually in April next year, a massive increase from previous predictions.

Although the UK is not reliant on Russian gas supplies, the global situation has driven up prices further.

The squeeze on gas supplies in Europe has helped fuel rocketing inflation and driven up household bills. Analysts expect the energy price cap to rise to £3,554 in October.

Healey told LBC: “There is undoubtedly a component that what we’re facing is not just a market failure and poor practice by the energy companies, but as part of the economic warfare that Russia has been waging on Europe.

“It’s no coincidence that in the year before they invaded Ukraine, they cut the supply of gas to Europe over those 12 months by half – forcing up prices, putting on pressure and it’s part of what military specialists would say [is] a form of hybrid warfare and aggression.”

Healey added: “We are facing Russian aggression which extends into our economy, extends into the disinformation that sows division within our society – which sort of undermines our belief in our own country – and we’ve got to reinforce our resilience at home and reinforce our defences abroad.

“That’s why our armed forces are just so vital to this country at the moment.”

Shadow defence secretary John Healey [left] talk to troops during a visit to Tapa Military Base in Estonia.

Victoria Jones – PA Images via Getty Images

The MP for Wentworth and Dearne said that Labour would want the price cap frozen over the winter amid an emergency crisis.

Healey added: “People are facing a winter emergency crisis over the next six months…the crisis is immediate, the need for action is urgent, and we’ve said we would freeze it over the winter so that we would stop the energy price cap rising as it will be announced on Friday.

“What’s needed now is immediate, urgent action to help people deal with the emergency that they face over energy costs and that’s what we want to see – and we’ve seen no sign that either Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss is willing to consider this.”

Ofgem will announce the next increase to its energy price cap this Friday.

On Monday, Downing Street said people should not panic ahead of winter about the soaring cost of energy.

Boris Johnson’s spokeswoman said the amount of energy to use was “for individuals”.

“Households, businesses and industry can be confident they will get the electricity and gas that they need over the winter,” she said.

Asked if people should “panic” over the cost of living during the winter, she said: “No.”

She also said households and businesses will not face blackouts this winter, adding: “That’s because we have one of the most reliable and diverse energy systems in the world.”

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