UK finance minister: govt preparing energy support options for next PM

·1 min read
FILE PHOTO: British Chancellor of the Exchequer Nadhim Zahawi leaves a television studio in London

LONDON (Reuters) - British finance minister Nadhim Zahawi said on Wednesday his department was working on options to help consumers meet rising energy costs, ready for the country's next prime minister to assess when the new leader is announced on Sept. 5.

"We will prepare all the options ready for the incoming prime minister on the 5th of September to hit the ground running," Zahawi told reporters.

He said the Treasury was looking at what could be done in January, when further price rises are expected to come into effect and when already-announced support packages have been fully implemented.

British consumer price inflation jumped to 10.1% in July, its highest since February 1982, up from an annual rate of 9.4% in June, intensifying the squeeze on households, official figures showed.

Zahawi said he was also starting to worry about the business impact of rising energy costs.

"One thing that I'm beginning to really get concerned about is the impact on small businesses because of the energy spike that they're seeing, which is obviously going to put huge pressure on SMEs (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises)," he said.

(Reporting by William James, writing by Farouq Suleiman, Editing by Kylie MacLellan)