UK

Britain’s blue collar workers earning BIG BUCKS! How jobs crisis has seen some salaries DOUBLE

Firms desperate to lure staff amid a UK labour shortage are offering salaries that are more than double the national average for similar roles.

Lorry drivers can pick-up £78,000-per-year – almost as much as the average barrister and more than double the £32,500 average for HGV drivers in the UK – under job vacancies being listed online. 

Firms desperate for fruit and vegetable pickers are also upping their pay offers, with bumper £30-per-hour salaries. 

It means those working 40 hour weeks can earn up to £62,000 – way above the £26,000 average for fruit and vegetable pickers. 

A £62,000-a-year pay packet would put fruit pickers on par with dentists in terms of average annual salaries and is almost exactly double the UK average of £31,000-a-year.

Meanwhile, one courier firm is offering delivery jobs for salaries of up to £52,000-a-year – more than the average London based office salary of £42,500-a-year. 

Milkmen can also earn themselves a bumper salary, with one employment advert offering up to £45,000-a-year for a milk delivery driver.

It comes as it was today revealed that there are nearly two million job adverts currently active in the UK.

Meanwhile, the Government is attempting to convince more people to take up lorry driving in order to combat the UK’s current HGV shortage.

Estimates by the Road Haulage Association (RHA) suggest the UK is in need of 100,000 HGV drivers. 

Lorry drivers can pick-up £78,000-per-year – more than double the £32,500 average for HGV drivers – under job vacancies being listed online. Library image

Firms desperate for fruit and vegetable pickers are also upping their salary offers, with £30-per-hour salaries. Library image

Firms desperate for fruit and vegetable pickers are also upping their salary offers, with £30-per-hour salaries. Library image

Milkmen can also earn themselves a bumper salary, with one employment advert offering up to £45,000-a-year for a milk delivery driver. Library image

Milkmen can also earn themselves a bumper salary, with one employment advert offering up to £45,000-a-year for a milk delivery driver. Library image

Meanwhile, one courier firm, Yodel (pictured)  is offering delivery jobs for salaries of up to £52,000-a-year - more than the average London based office salary of £42,500-a-year

Meanwhile, one courier firm, Yodel (pictured)  is offering delivery jobs for salaries of up to £52,000-a-year – more than the average London based office salary of £42,500-a-year

It comes amid fears of empty shelves and even emptier petrol tanks, with the crisis causing delays to deliveries.

Meanwhile Ministers faced fresh pressure to ease immigration rules as an emergency measure to attract HGV drivers from overseas.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps today hinted at the possibility, saying he would move ‘heaven and earth’ to tackle the ‘systemic issue’ of HGV driver shortages.

He also claimed transport firms were offering huge salaries in a bid to entice drivers who have left the industry to come back – with one ‘top milk firm’ apparently offering as much as ‘£78,000-a-year’.

Job adverts on Total Jobs show one HGV role offering up to £70,000 per annum. The job, based in Slough, is listed as ‘urgent’. 

H Clements and Son Ltd, based in Boston, Lincs posted one job advert calling for broccoli pickers – who they say can earn up to £30-per-hour.

This works out at £240-per-day or £1,200-per-week. The monthly pay for doing it full-time is £4,800 and an annual salary of £62,400-a-year – based on an average working week.

The job advert reads: ‘We are looking for Field Operatives to harvest our broccoli. Excellent piecework with potential to earn up to £30-per-hour. All year round work available.’

An average salary for a fruit and vegetable pick, according to job site Indeed, is in the region of £26,000.

Which industries are looking for new staff? 

These are the number of new job adverts posted in the UK from September 13 to September 19, according to data analysed by Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC).

Care workers: 55,019

Chefs: 36,471

Primary school teachers: 32,942 

Metal workers: 22,956

Cleaners: 28,220

HGV drivers: 7,513

Bar staff: 6,557

Sales assistants: 32,615

School secretaries: 2,678

Lollipop men and women: 2,478 

Postal workers: 2,251

*The figures are for jobs posted between September 13 – September 19. In total there are more than 1.9million active job adverts.

Meanwhile, delivery firm Yodel is looking for van drivers in south east and east London, and is offering up to £52,000-a-year. 

According to job site Glassdoor, the average salary for a Yodel driver is £30,859.

Other ways to grab a plus £40,000-a-year salary is as a milkman in Loughborough.

According to Indeed, the job, working with Gmi Distribution, pays between £26,000 to £45,000-a-year and is available part and full-time. Milkmen typically earn an around £28,000.

UK job advert numbers have reached the highest figure in at least a year, with almost two million positions currently being offered, newly released figures have revealed.

Job market data from September 13 to September 19 shows more than 220,000 new job adverts were posted, bringing the total number of active job adverts to 1.9million.

According to the figures, there were 36,000 new adverts appeared for chefs, around 32,000 for sales assistants and 6,500 for bar staff in that period.

The figures for hospitality jobs are likely to reflect the country opening back up in the wake of Covid-19 rules being lifted.

But the job advert figures also show more than 7,500 job adverts have been posted for HGV drivers in the UK in the last week. Some offer salaries upward of £50,000-a-year. 

The flurry of job adverts comes amid a shortage of lorry drivers across the UK.

The Road Haulage Association estimate the UK to be short of 100,000 HGV drivers.

Brexit and Covid are among the major reasons put forward by transport groups and ministers for the shortage, which has sparked chaos for the UK’s transport industry. 

It comes as panic buying set in today at fuel stations up and down the UK after BP yesterday announced it the HGV driver shortage meant fuel was not getting to some of its pumps.

Meanwhile, Government officials are said to be growing increasingly concerned about the possibility of a ‘winter of discontent’ this year, with supermarkets warning of food shortages and more energy firms went bust amid rising gas prices.

The Bank of England on Thursday warned the spiralling costs could see inflation rise by 4 per cent this year – the highest rate of growth for a decade.

Ministers are today being urged to consider relaxing immigration rules to tackle the jobs crisis, while Transport Secretary Grant Shapps urged people not to panic buy fuel, saying: ‘carry on as normal’.

Job market data from September 13 to September 19 shows firms in the UK need, in total, more than 36,000 chefs, around 32,000 sales assistants and 6,500 bar staff

Job market data from September 13 to September 19 shows firms in the UK need, in total, more than 36,000 chefs, around 32,000 sales assistants and 6,500 bar staff

UK job advert numbers have reached the highest figure in at least a year, with almost two million positions currently being offered, newly released figures have revealed. Pictured: A graph showing the number of job adverts being offered in the UK

UK job advert numbers have reached the highest figure in at least a year, with almost two million positions currently being offered, newly released figures have revealed. Pictured: A graph showing the number of job adverts being offered in the UK

A breakdown of the figures by each area, with the most number of active job postings currently in the south east

A breakdown of the figures by each area, with the most number of active job postings currently in the south east

A breakdown of the figures by different job types, including cleaners, care workers and chefs

A breakdown of the figures by different job types, including cleaners, care workers and chefs

More than 500,000 over-50s have withdrawn from UK labour market since Covid, says employment expert

More than 500,000 over-50s have withdrawn from the UK labour market since the start of the Covid pandemic, according to an employment expert.

The sudden withdrawal of hundreds of thousands of staff, plus a drop in the number of migrant workers and an increase in the number of students has led to record numbers of job vaccancies, according to Tony Wilson, director of the Institute for Employment Studies.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: ‘It’s right (that there are fewer workers around). The labour market is much smaller than it was before the pandemic began.

‘We estimate that there is about a million fewer people in the labour market now than there were before the crisis began and probably about a quarter of that is explained by lower migration and that’s mainly lower immigration since the pandemic rather than higher emigration.

‘About 500,000 of that is explained by more people over 50 who have withdrawn from the labour market. That’s compared with what we would have expected to happen, because over 50s employment and labour market participation has been growing for decades, but that growth has now reversed.

‘So it’s about half a million is explained by over 50s, while 300,000 is explained by young people in full time education – so more young people more in education.’

‘And there is a little bit which is furlough, which is ending next week, but it looks like that may only be between 200,000-300,000 workers, so it could be around one million workers.’ 

Asked what the sudden spike in over-50s dropping from the labour market, he said: ‘It’s a combination of factors. A lot will be the pandemic. It will be people who will have been furloughed, who have taken time away from the labour market and simply aren’t returning.

‘Some of it will be people who feel they can’t go back to work, they may have been shielding for example and may come back in the future.’ 

 

According to the figures, from the 13-19 September, there were 1.9 million active job adverts currently active in the UK.  

The figures are from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC)’s latest Job Recovery Tracker – which tracks the number of job adverts and there different sectors they are in.

The 1.9million figure is a new record high for the tracker, which started collecting data in January 2020. 

According to the tracker, there were 223,000 new job adverts posted in the week of 13-19 September.

The biggest surge in new jobs was in the care sector, where more than 55,000 new job adverts were posted during that period.

There were also more than 30,000 adverts for chefs, sales assistants and primary school teachers.

More than 28,000 new job adverts also appeared for cleaners and 22,000 for metal workers. 

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC, said the figures were ‘good news’.  But he warned that a shortage in labour could slow the UK’s recovery from Covid.

He said: ‘Job postings are rising in every area of the UK. That’s good news, and we are seeing more employees starting new positions than ever – but demand from employers is even higher still. 

‘There is a real chance now that shortages of available workers will slow the recovery.

‘A recent REC survey of recruiters found that three in five have over 30% more vacancies than usual, and 97% said it’s taking longer to fill them. 

‘Labour shortages and the related recruitment difficulties put constraints on the economy, restricting output growth and innovation, so it’s vital we solve them quickly.’

Mr Carberry urged Government departments and industry experts to come together to solve the shortage.

It comes as employment expert today claimed more than 500,000 over-50s have withdrawn from the UK labour market since the start of the Covid pandemic.

The sudden withdrawal of hundreds of thousands of staff, plus a drop in the number of migrant workers and an increase in the number of students has led to record numbers of job vaccancies, according to Tony Wilson, director of the Institute for Employment Studies.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: ‘It’s right (that there are fewer workers around). The labour market is much smaller than it was before the pandemic began.

‘We estimate that there is about a million fewer people in the labour market now than there were before the crisis began and probably about a quarter of that is explained by lower migration and that’s mainly lower immigration since the pandemic rather than higher emigration.

‘About 500,000 of that is explained by more people over 50 who have withdrawn from the labour market. That’s compared with what we would have expected to happen, because over 50s employment and labour market participation has been growing for decades, but that growth has now reversed.

‘So it’s about half a million is explained by over 50s, while 300,000 is explained by young people in full time education – so more young people more in education.

‘And there is a little bit which is furlough, which is ending next week, but it looks like that may only be between 200,000-300,000 workers, so it could be around one million workers.’

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps suggested adding HGV drivers to the skilled worker list for immigration purposes would not solve the problem, although he insisted he nothing had been ruled out

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps suggested adding HGV drivers to the skilled worker list for immigration purposes would not solve the problem, although he insisted he nothing had been ruled out

Agricutlure Secretary George Eustice has indicated that the government is preparing to extend the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) this year to help tackle the UK's HGV crisis

Agricutlure Secretary George Eustice has indicated that the government is preparing to extend the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) this year to help tackle the UK’s HGV crisis

Asked what the sudden spike in over-50s dropping from the labour market, he said: ‘It’s a combination of factors. A lot will be the pandemic. It will be people who will have been furloughed, who have taken time away from the labour market and simply aren’t returning.

‘Some of it will be people who feel they can’t go back to work, they may have been shielding for example and may come back in the future.’ 

Seasonal worker scheme ‘could tackle food labour problem’ 

The Government’s seasonal worker scheme could be extended and its focus ‘changed’ as part of a plan to tackle labour shortages in food production.

Agricutlure Secretary George Eustice has indicated that the government is preparing to extend the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) this year to help tackle the UK’s HGV crisis.

Mr Eustice also said ministers were looking at ‘changing the focus’ of the scheme to push for more HGV drivers.

The scheme is mainly used by seasonal workers who are picking fruit and vegetables in the UK. 

Speaking at the Balmoral Show in Northern Ireland, he said there was ‘an acute labour shortage at the moment right across the UK economy’. 

He also said the government would be trying to encourage EU workers with settled status to return to the UK.

The comments came as panic buying at the pumps began today amid fears fuel rationing is on the way due to the UK’s crippling HGV driver shortage – as Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tried to calm nerves by urging Britons ‘carry on as normal’.

Queues of cars were seen spilling out on to the road from forecourts in Tonbridge, Kent, in Ely, Cambridgeshire, Bright and Leeds this morning – just a day after fuel bosses warned of petrol and diesel rationing and petrol station closures. 

One petrol station in Essex, was already said to have run out of diesel by this morning, while outside another forecourt on the A12, also in Essex, queues were said to be ‘three rows deep to every pump’.

The scenes of queues outside petrol stations  – which for some will stir up memories of the 1973 Opec Oil Crisis and the 2000 fuel shortage – come amid fears of a 1978-style ‘winter of discontent’ for the UK, with skyrocketing energy prices, food shortages and fuel rationing.  

Yesterday BP announced plans to ration fuel and a ‘handful’ of its petrol stations, along with ‘small number’ of Tesco refilling stations, while supermarkets warned of food shortages and more energy firms went bust amid rising gas prices – sparking fears of a new ‘winter of discontent’.

And in a particularly unhelpful addition to the problem, eco-mob Insulate Britain returned to the roads today to block off a route to Port of Dover – Europe’s busiest port and the UK’s main gateway for trade from the EU.

It comes as Petrol Retailers Association last night warned drivers to ‘keep a quarter of a tank’ of fuel in their vehicles in preparation for potential closures of local petrol stations.   

Meanwhile Ministers faced fresh pressure to ease immigration rules as an emergency measure to attract HGV drivers from overseas amid warnings that 100,000 more were needed across the industry.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps today hinted at the possibility, saying he would move ‘heaven and earth’ to tackle the ‘systemic issue’ of HGV driver shortages.

He also claimed transport firms were offering huge salaries in a bid to entice drivers who have left the industry to come back – with one ‘top milk firm’ apparently offering as much as ‘£78,000-a-year’.   

Meanwhile, one vegetable firm in Lincolnshire is currently advertising a broccoli picker role for £30-per-hour – equivalent to around £62,000-a-year. 

Government source warned last night that Downing Street is growing increasingly ‘worried’ over a brewing ‘winter of discontent’ – with Christmas ruined by soaring energy bills, shortages and Universal Credit cuts. 

Ministers are said to have drawn up plans to put soldiers on standby in case they are required to drive petrol tankers in case of severe crisis. 

When questioned about this on BBC Breakfast, Mr Shapps said: ‘If it can actually help, we will bring them in.’ 

But he urged people not to panic buy, telling Sky News: ‘The advice would be to carry on as normal, and that’s what BP are saying as well.’ 

TONBRIDGE: KENT: Queues of cars were seen spilling out on the road from a Kent forecourt this morning just a day after fuel bosses warned of fuel rationing and petrol station closures

BRIGHTON: Customers queue for fuel at a supermarket petrol station in Brighton this morning . Some BP and Shell petrol stations have had to temporarily close because of a shortage of HGV drivers in the UK

LEEDS: Queues at a Sainsbury’s Petrol Station in Colton, Leeds. Drivers are being urged by the Government to “buy fuel as normal”, after the lorry driver shortage hit supplies

A graphic illustrating how the three issues are currently affecting the UK and the problems it is causing. The People's Energy Company (bottom, middle) is one of the energy suppliers that have already gone bust

A graphic illustrating how the three issues are currently affecting the UK and the problems it is causing. The People’s Energy Company (bottom, middle) is one of the energy suppliers that have already gone bust

Ministers face pressure to ease immigration rules as emergency measure to attract HGV drivers from overseas 

Motorists and shoppers have been urged not to panic buy fuel and goods as the shortage of lorry drivers hit supplies.

Ministers faced fresh pressure to ease immigration rules as an emergency measure to attract HGV drivers from overseas amid warnings that 100,000 more were needed across the industry.

BP said a ‘handful’ of its filling stations are closed due to a lack of fuel available, while Esso owner ExxonMobil also said a ‘small number’ of its Tesco Alliance petrol forecourts have been impacted.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps suggested adding HGV drivers to the skilled worker list for immigration purposes would not solve the problem, although he insisted he nothing had been ruled out.

The issues around petrol supply, on top of problems in the food industry and rising gas prices have led to warnings the Government faces a ‘winter of discontent’.

A combination of factors including Brexit leading to the loss of European Union drivers, the pandemic preventing driving tests and systemic problems in the industry relating to pay and conditions have led to the shortage of qualified HGV drivers.

Rod McKenzie of the Road Haulage Association trade body accused ministers of ‘government by inertia’, allowing the situation to get ‘gradually worse’ in recent months.

‘We have got a shortage of 100,000 (drivers),’ he told BBC’s Newsnight. ‘When you think that everything we get in Britain comes on the back of a lorry – whether it’s fuel or food or clothes or whatever it is – at some point, if there are no drivers to drive those trucks, the trucks aren’t moving and we’re not getting our stuff.’

Mr McKenzie added: ‘I don’t think we are talking about absolutely no fuel or food or anything like that, people shouldn’t panic buy food or fuel or anything else, that’s not what this is about.

‘This is about stock outs, it’s about shortages, it’s about a normal supply chain being disrupted.’

He said a ‘very short-term’ measure would be to allow drivers onto the shortage occupation list and ‘seasonal visas’ for foreign drivers.

Richard Walker, the managing director of Iceland, said the supermarket chain was around 100 drivers short of what it needed and echoed the call for a temporary change to immigration rules.

‘I think the solution – even if it’s temporary – is very, very simple. Let’s get HGV drivers onto the skilled worker list,’ he said.

The Transport Secretary, appearing alongside Mr Walker on Question Time, said ‘if that was actually the solution I’m sure we’d move to it very quickly and I don’t rule out anything’.

But ‘this is a global problem, it has come directly as a consequence of coronavirus’.

The Government has moved to streamline the testing system and Mr Shapps promised an extra 50,000 tests a year.

Labour’s shadow justice secretary David Lammy said: ‘What we are looking at is a winter of discontent. We have shortages of staff, shortages of supply and shortages of skills.’

A Government spokeswoman said: ‘There is no shortage of fuel in the UK, and people should continue to buy fuel as normal.’

It comes as the UK’s Agriculture Secretary George Eustice has indicated that the government is preparing to extend a seasonal worker scheme to tackle labour shortages across food production. The scheme could also be extended to include other industries suffering from labour shortages. 

Yesterday BP said it will restrict deliveries of fuel because of a lack of HGV drivers, which has also impacted supermarkets and raised fears of food and even toy shortages over the Christmas period. 

The oil giant is understood to have informed the Government that its ability to transport petrol and diesel from its refineries is being heavily impacted by the supply chain crisis. 

BP’s Head of UK Retail, Hanna Hofer, told the Cabinet Office last Thursday that it was important that the Government understood the ‘urgency of the situation’ which she branded ‘bad, very bad’.

Ms Hofer warned that the company had ‘two thirds of normal forecourt stock levels required for smooth operations’ and that levels were ‘declining rapidly’. The restricting of deliveries is expected to begin ‘very soon’. 

Meanwhile, there have been reports of Tesco petrol stations closing or running out of fuel in Dorset, the Isle of Wight and Devon, however it is believed that the incidents of shortages are only affecting two sites. ExxonMobil, which operates Esso, added that some of its 200 Tesco Alliance sites were affected.

A Tesco spokesperson however said supermarkets still had a ‘good availability of fuel, with deliveries arriving at our petrol filling stations across the UK every day.’ 

However one petrol station owner told BBC Radio 4 she had already run out of fuel once. Lisa Stevenson, owner of the Tolladine Service Station in Worcester, told the Today Programme: ‘My order was supposed to come on Thursday last week, it didn’t arrive. 

‘My distributor said it would be delivered on Friday, he then phoned me back said ‘unfortunately we have a lack of drivers’ and that it won’t be delivered until Monday.’

Asked if she had run out of petrol at that point, she said: ‘We did indeed yes.’ Asked if it would happen again, she said: ‘Most definitely, as we come into the winter.’  

Meanwhile, at the Shell garage on A12 near Marks Tey, Essex, the forecourt was said to be completely out of diesel on Friday morning.

Further down the A12, at the BP garage at Rivenhall, near Kelvedon, Essex, cars were queuing three deep at every pump on Friday morning and staff at the garage said it was almost out of diesel.

They were hoping for a delivery today or tomorrow but were not sure if they would get one, and said they had never seen the garage as busy

‘People are definitely packing it in’, one driver said.

One woman in Surrey told the Sun she had witnessed an ‘old guy’ squeeze £2.65 worth of fuel into his tank ‘before it overflowed onto the floor’. 

However motorists and shoppers have been urged not to panic buy fuel and goods, with a Government spokeswoman saying: ‘There is no shortage of fuel in the UK, and people should continue to buy fuel as normal.’ 

Gerald Ronson, owner of almost 300 Rontec – BP, Texaco and forecourts across the country, told The Telegraph he expects fuel court disruption to last for more than four weeks.

He said: ‘With everybody coming back to work – more cars on the road because people don’t want to use buses or trains – this has drained a lot of fuel.’ 

The news is the latest sign of the UK struggling to cope because of an ongoing shortage of HGV drivers which comes alongside a worsening energy crisis.  

Mr Shapps said he hoped the issue would ‘smooth out very quickly’ after the Government introduced changes to tests. 

He told Sky News: ‘The problem is not new there’s been a lack of drivers actually for many months during this pandemic because as your report said during the lockdown drivers couldn’t be passed through their lorry/HGV tests and that’s what’s been the problem.

‘But many more tests are being made available now so we should see it smooth out very quickly.

On short term visas, he said: ‘I’ll look at everything we can and we’ll move heaven and earth to make sure shortages are alleviated.’ 

Care homes could close bosses warn, as they face crippling 100 percent rise in their heating bills this winter 

By Katie Weston for MailOnline 

Care homes could close this winter because they face a crippling 100 per cent rise in their heating bills, bosses have warned. 

Melanie Weatherby, co-chair of the Care Association Alliance, said the soaring price of wholesale gas could be the ‘straw that breaks the camel’s back’. 

On average, a care home with 50 residents spends around £50,000 per year on gas and electricity bills.

But an energy broker has predicted the price increases could lead to care operators – who are not protected by the price cap – paying double that amount.  

It comes as the boss of one collapsed energy company says pleas for help have ‘fallen on deaf ears’ despite many suppliers being on the brink of administration.

The price hikes have seen seven firms collapse since August and led to a warning from the Government to prepare for the worst. 

Melanie Weatherby, co-chair of the Care Association Alliance, said the soaring price of wholesale gas could be the 'straw that breaks the camel's back' (file photo)

Melanie Weatherby, co-chair of the Care Association Alliance, said the soaring price of wholesale gas could be the ‘straw that breaks the camel’s back’ (file photo)

Steve Silverwood, Managing Director of ECA Business Energy, told The Guardian: ‘The care homes that haven’t already purchased energy for forthcoming renewals are going to see 100 per cent plus increases. 

‘A care home can be spending £50,000 plus [on energy] and to double that is unbelievable.’

Ms Weatherby said: ‘It could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.’

And Nadra Ahmed, of the National Care Association, warned of the impact price hikes will have in the winter, when heating will be switched on all the time.

The comments follow the founder and chief executive of Green Energy saying that ‘a majority’ of the 40 companies he has spoken to in recent days are likely to collapse without further Government support.

His business became the fifth supplier to go out of business in September as rising gas prices contributed to the crisis engulfing the sector.

Speaking on BBC Good Morning Scotland, Peter McGirr also said that a meeting with Business Secretary Kwarteng had been ‘pretty pointless’ and suggested that people may be unable to heat their homes over the winter and then face a huge price hike in the new year.

He said: ‘We have tirelessly lobbied Government and, along with 14 other suppliers, wrote an open letter at the very start of the week saying that the market is in crisis, we all need help.

The price hikes have seen seven energy firms collapse since August and led to a warning from the Government to prepare for the worst (file photo)

The price hikes have seen seven energy firms collapse since August and led to a warning from the Government to prepare for the worst (file photo)

‘Unfortunately it’s fallen on deaf ears.

‘We’re doing a round table with the Business Secretary on Tuesday when he finally listened and talked to all the small suppliers, but we were in there for an hour and it felt like for an hour we were talking about what colour to paint the stables now that all the horses are bolted.

‘So it was pretty pointless, to be honest.’

On Thursday, Mr Kwarteng denied being complacent over 18-month-old warnings about risks to the UK’s energy supply after 1.5million people were left without a provider.

With 800,000 consumers losing their suppliers on Wednesday alone, two energy companies have since looked to make it more difficult for new customers to sign up for their services as they attempt to survive the current turbulence.

Yesterday, Kwasi Kwarteng (pictured) denied being complacent over 18-month-old warnings about risks to the UK's energy supply after 1.5million people were left without a provider

Yesterday, Kwasi Kwarteng (pictured) denied being complacent over 18-month-old warnings about risks to the UK’s energy supply after 1.5million people were left without a provider

Shadow business secretary Ed Miliband quoted a letter from energy regulator Ofgem warning of a ‘systemic risk to the energy supply as a whole’ which had been sent 18 months ago.

Opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer tweeted that the details show the Government was ‘warned about a looming crisis and didn’t prepare’.

But in the Commons earlier, Mr Kwarteng insisted the industry and market will find the solution to the energy crisis.

Responding to an urgent question from Labour, he said: ‘The Government has been clear that protecting consumers is our primary focus and shapes our entire approach to this.

‘We will continue to protect consumers with the energy price cap.

‘The solution to this crisis will be found from the industry and the market, as is already happening, and the Government – I repeat – will not be bailing out failed energy companies.’

MailOnline has contacted the Department of Health and Social Care for comment. 

 


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