UK will not ration energy in response to Ukraine invasion – Shapps

The Cabinet minister’s comment came after Labour’s Jonathan Reynolds suggested the Government should consider rationing oil and gas.

03 April 2022

The Government has ruled out rationing energy in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to Grant Shapps.

The Cabinet minister’s comment came after Labour’s Jonathan Reynolds said the Government should consider rationing oil and gas – but later changed his position.

Asked on BBC One’s Sunday Morning programme if it is a “good idea” for the UK to look into energy rationing, Mr Shapps said: “No, I don’t.”

Sunday Morning
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is interviewed by host Clive Myrie via video-link on BBC One’s Sunday Morning programme (Jeff Overs/BBC/PA)

Pressed on whether he can “completely” rule out such a move in the UK, the Transport Secretary added: “Yes, I can. It’s not the route that we want to go down.”

Shadow business and energy secretary Mr Reynolds originally told the same programme that the Government should be making plans in private to ration gas and oil.

Asked about taking such steps, the Labour MP said: “We should be making those plans and the Government should be preparing, not necessarily in public, for that situation.

“There’s a lot of complacency in this country about the relative lower exposure to Russian gas that we have.

Fawley power station stock
The Government will not be rationing gas and oil, Grant Shapps has said (Gareth Fuller/PA) 

“But we should bear in mind that part of the supply that comes to this country from, for instance, Norway or from the liquefied natural gas that goes into the terminals and wells, that is partly because Russian gas is fulfilling the demands of central Europe.

“I think what the Government should announce is a plan which is not simply shopping from one authoritarian regime to the next for fossil fuels, but that long-term plan on renewables or nuclear and energy efficiency that would make the difference.”

But speaking on Times Radio an hour later, Mr Reynolds appeared to U-turn on his position.

Asked again whether the UK should be rationing energy, he said: “No, that would be a disaster for households and for businesses.

Sunday Morning
Shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds said there is ‘a lot of complacency’ about the UK’s relatively low exposure to Russian gas (Yui Mok/PA)

“But the fact you’re even asking the question is an indictment of Conservative energy policy for the last decade.

“We still haven’t had a plan from the Government, even though they said it was to them a priority and an emergency.”

On LBC minutes later, he clarified that Labour believes “a successful plan would absolutely mean we did not have to consider” rationing energy.

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