Britain sets out $172 bln plan to cut energy bills

STORY: Britain is going to spend big to limit energy price rises.

On Thursday (September 8) new Prime Minister Liz Truss set out her plans.

It’s estimated they could cost around 150 billion pounds - or around $172 billion - funded from new borrowing.

"We will also support all businesses, charities and public sector organisations with their energy costs this winter, offering an equivalent guarantee for six months. After those six months, we will provide further support to vulnerable sectors such as hospitality, including our local pubs.”

Truss says the plan will keep household bills at current levels for about two years.

That prevents an 80% leap in charges that had been expected in October.

The scale of the extra borrowing has rattled financial markets.

Sterling fell again versus the dollar, hovering around levels not seen since 1985.

The opposition Labour Party had called for the measures to be funded through a windfall tax on utilities.

That idea was echoed by some Londoners on Thursday:

“I mean, first of all, where's the money coming from? So I would prefer to see a windfall tax on the energy companies rather than increase borrowing.”

The plan marks a big turnaround for Truss.

During her campaign to become leader she ruled out “handouts” for households.

But with energy costs looking set to drive Britain into a long recession, the new prime minister has been forced to act.