Russia: Putin ‘playing a game of chess’ says expert

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The Government has been urged to intervene to stop energy bills from rising as the industry has warned of a “national crisis”. Energy firms have called for measures like scrapping VAT and green levies on energy bills to alleviate the surging costs for consumers. But while key industry voices have made this appeal, Tory MP John Pernose has claimed that these charges are not the major factor driving up energy bills.

He told GB News: “The major change in what is going on with our energy bills isn’t being driven by VAT or green levies or these sorts of things.

“They are a factor, yes. But the really big change, the thing that is driving the pain for all of us and is going to get worse over the next couple of months is the increasing international price of gas.”

And the Tory MP pointed the finger at the Kremlin.

He added: “That (increasing international gas prices) is actually being driven by decisions being taken by Moscow because they stopped pumping as much gas.

“It all comes across the rest of Europe through a series of pipelines and so it knocks through to British energy bills away.”

In fact, Russia has been diverting gas flow to the East through the Yamal-Europe pipeline for over two weeks.

The move saw international gas prices soar by 30 percent.

But this is not the only instance where Russia has cut Europe’s gas.

In fact, the Russian President has been conducting a gas squeeze over Europe for a number of months.

He has been accused of deliberately withholding gas deliveries from Europe to speed up the certification of a new pipeline, Nord Stream 2.

This would bring gas from Russia to Germany, bypassing Poland and Ukraine.

But having been hit with delays, it appears Mr Putin has continued to restrict gas from travelling into Europe, sending prices skyrocketing.

Record high gas prices were reached in both October and November in Europe as a result.

This is why, claims Mr Penrose, scrapping VAT and green levies won’t stop energy bills from rising.

He called on the Prime Minister to reduce Britain’s reliance on European energy supplies.

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He said: “What we have actually got to do is decouple ourselves.

“We need to become independent from our reliance on European gas price which is ultimately driven by Moscow.

“We have got to become much more self-sufficient in energy.

But Emma Pinchbeck, the chief executive of Energy UK warned there could be a “national crisis” as energy bills continue to rise.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: “Domestic energy prices are going to go up 45 percent to 50 percent in the spring.”

And with the energy price cap having already risen in October, it meant millions of customers were charged an extra £139.

And now, there are fears the price cap, the minimum tariff suppliers can charge, will soar to £2,000.

A group of 20 Conservative MPs have called for the Prime Minister to cut the VAT charge on energy bills, which is currently levied at five percent.

Despite Mr Johnson promising that Britain could get rid of this rule, which was originally imposed by the EU, he now appears to have changed his tone.

The Prime Minister said in a televised Downing Street press conference: “The argument as you know is that it’s a bit of a blunt instrument and the difficulty is that you end up also cutting fuel bills for a lot of people who perhaps don’t need the support in quite the direct way that we need to give it.

“We need to help people who are in fuel poverty the most.”

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