Liz Truss will go “bigger than expected” on energy if she is announced as the new prime minister this afternoon, Sky News understands.
The foreign secretary is widely tipped to win the Conservative leadership contest over rival Rishi Sunak – handing her the keys to Number 10 on Tuesday.
Having made tax cuts a key priority during her leadership campaign, she has remained tight-lipped about what kind of support package she might introduce as the UK faces the prospect of soaring energy bills and a worsening cost of living crisis.
However, speculation is mounting she is considering freezing energy bills for millions of households.
The Daily Telegraph reports she is planning such a freeze in order to halt “energy Armageddon”.
And Sky News’ political editor Beth Rigby understands from political and Whitehall sources that – if she wins the leadership contest – Ms Truss will announce a package of support that is going to be bigger than perhaps expected.
“I think it will be a shock and awe moment,” a senior ally of Ms Truss said.
“Knowing Liz well, she’ll want a big bang package bigger than people expect and that won’t just about energy, it will be about resisting Treasury orthodoxy. She’ll want to show the public she hears them.”
There have been ever-louder calls in recent weeks for the government to intervene to support the most vulnerable, with energy bills set to rise to around £3,500 this winter for the average household.
On Sunday, Ms Truss told the BBC that the UK faces “some very, very serious challenges” which will require immediate action from the government.
She vowed to outline her plan to deal with the energy crisis within a week if she becomes PM – but refused to go into further detail.
Appearing on Sky News this morning, Labour’s shadow justice secretary Steve Reed said it was “staggering” that both the leadership contenders have not confirmed their plan for the energy crisis.
He said the incoming leader could “do a lot worse” than pick up Labour’s plan to freeze energy bills.
“The only source of a plan we’ve had so far is the Labour Party’s fully costed plan to freeze energy prices so we can spare families from the eye-watering, terrifying £5,000 or £5,500 increase in bills that are anticipated by next April,” he said.
“Despite the fact that Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak have been fighting each other like rats in a sack all the way through the summer, neither of them has come up with a plan to deal with the energy crisis.”
The announcement of the next Conservative leader is scheduled for around 12.30pm at the QEII Conference Centre in central London on the same day Parliament returns.
Both candidates have spent the last several weeks traversing the country and taking part in hustings in a bid to win over the 200,000 party members charged with choosing the next Conservative leader.