UK - Gas crisis 'could cause three-day-week': Taxpayers face pumping billions into stricken energy companies as ministers hold more emergency talks TODAY amid chaos for customers - with fears of soaring bills and empty.Ministers were warned that they must act to keep the 'lights turned on' today amid fresh crisis talks over gas shortages - with taxpayers facing pumping billions of pounds into stricken energy firms.
Fears are mounting about the consequences of soaring wholesale gas prices - up 70 per cent since last month - that are sending providers to the wall and causing chaos for a range of industries.
Experts say that as well as spiralling bills for household energy, food supplies and even medical procedures are at risk as the pressures cause shockwaves across supply chains. One consultant said the problems are so huge they could 'easily see a three-day working week' across affected companies this winter.
And Iceland supermarket boss Richard Walker told the BBC this morning that he was 'shocked' by how exposed the UK was to disruption.
'This is no longer about whether Christmas will be OK,' he said. 'This is more about keeping the wheels turning and the lights on so we can actually get to Christmas.'
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is expected to hold more discussions with the energy industry later amid calls for bailouts. Five energy suppliers have gone bust recently, and there are reports that customers of those on the brink of collapse could be temporarily transferred to another company.
The Government could provide a loan to other firms taking on their customers, or even effectively nationalise small suppliers on the verge of collapse by appointing a 'special administrator'.
However, there are concerns that other firms will still refuse to take on the consumers. Other options include creating a 'bad bank' to take control of entities that can no longer operate on their own.
The UK's sixth largest energy company, Bulb, was among those seeking help today.
The FTSE 100 tumbled to a two-month low this morning as gas supply fears combined with rising inflation to send a chill through financial markets.
Energy stocks were also among top losers, with shares of heavyweights Royal Dutch Shell and BP falling 1.5 per cent and 0.9 per cent respectively.
Tory MPs have joined energy firms in demanding Boris Johnson scraps or suspends green levies on consumer bills.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan insisted the government must ensure vulnerable customers are protected from price rises.
But the PM, who is at the UN general assembly in New York, tried to quell rising panic by insisting the problems should be 'temporary'.
He said the energy squeeze was a result of the 'world waking up from pandemic shutdown', comparing it to everyone 'going to put the kettle on at the end of the TV programme'.
Kwasi Kwarteng hit back at 'alarmism' amid mounting concerns about the consequences of soaring wholesale gas prices that are sending providers to the wall and causing chaos for a range of industries.