Lord Frost urges Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to change course

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“There is a real risk of raising taxes into a recession, especially when interest rates and monetary policy is getting tighter" - Lord Frost. Photo: Open Government Licence v3.0

Lord Frost urges the Prime Minister to change course, speaks of “great disappointment” that Truss failed, criticises u-turn over fracking and says he’s joining the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

The Brexit talisman and former right-hand man to Boris Johnson fears we are “swinging back to George Osborne style austerity.”

In an exclusive GB News interview, Lord Frost also said he felt Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng should have stuck to their guns and it was a “great disappointment” their focus on growth and productivity failed.  

Speaking to Liam Halligan, the former right-hand man to Boris, also revealed how he is joining the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

He also criticised the Prime Minister’s U-turn on fracking, saying “there’s a degree of hypocrisy on the part of those who won’t do fracking in the UK but are perfectly happy to import large quantities of fracked gas from the US”.

Addressing his concerns over the Government’s current economic strategy, Lord Frost said: “We seem to be swinging back to George Osborne style austerity. But we need to retain the aspiration to increase the productive capacity of this country, to make everyone wealthier and more successful in their work and their daily lives. If we give up on that aspiration, we’re heading for decline. 

“There is a real risk of raising taxes into a recession, especially when interest rates and monetary policy is getting tighter. There are very few examples of countries in the world that have consolidated their fiscal policy and then grown. Budgetary consolidation tends to slow growth and crush the economy. You then have to consolidate further and you get into a vicious cycle. You have to be cautious when economic conditions are getting worse so that we are not making our situation worse.”

On what he thinks the Prime Minister should do next, he continued: “My advice to Rishi Sunak would be to try to develop a programme that everyone can get behind. Don’t pivot to austerity. Keep focussed on raising productivity and on supply side reform. Try and bring everyone with you so people feel the government is stable and can get behind it. 

“Kwasi Kwarteng and Liz Truss should have stuck to their guns. The great disappointment to me was not that they made mistakes, but that they were pushed off what they were trying to do too quickly. We need to keep the focus on growth and productivity and making the economy stronger – and it’s a great pity that hasn’t happened.” 

Lord Frost also told GB News about his decision to join the GWPF, the UK-based think-tank founded by former Conservative Chancellor Nigel Lawson, saying it was linked to his desire to enter in a more rounded debate on climate change.

“One of the things we most need is open debate, full and frank debate,” he said. 

“The GWPF has been very good at promoting that, over a decade and more, given an objective view of what is going on – and I very much want to be a part of that.”

Asked whether he felt we were currently in the midst of a climate emergency, he said: “In my view we’re not in a climate emergency or a climate crisis in the very hysterical way some people want to suggest. 

“But we do have a problem. And the way to tackle that is to adapt and to be serious about the kind of energy supplies we are trying to develop. But my worry is that we’re rushing this, trying to do too much too quickly, the technologies aren’t yet available and we’re running into problems.  The war in Ukraine and the cost-of-living squeeze are forcing some realism into this debate. We are facing the prospects of, at least, severe strain on our energy supplies this winter. People are focusing on what really matters – which isn’t just carbon emissions, but will the lights stay on, do we have security of supply, and can we afford our energy.”

On what’s changed since COP26, Lord Frost said: “A lot has changed since COP 26 in Glasgow. We need to move away from the assumption there is only one way to deal with this problem, squeezing out all other debate, squeezing out people who want to widen the frame of debate and have a more rational discussion. I think we are starting to see that now, but the change is slow and it still worries me that certain opinions are still difficult to express. Free speech, free debate and the exchange of ideas is always the best way to get the best solutions.”

Lord Frost also said he had doubts over whether some of the most high profile environmental targets were achievable.

He said: “I’m doubtful Net Zero by 2050 is realistic. I don’t think the technologies are ripe yet. It is too easy to say we just need more wind and more solar. Until we solve the problem of storing power, and the intermittency problem is properly solved, I struggle to see that these technologies will do what we need them to do. I would go from gas to nuclear, while doing lots of research into other technologies. Will those technologies be ready to hit net zero in 2050? I’m doubtful. 

“I am also doubtful that the ban on new petrol and diesel cars will happen in 2030. The market isn’t ripe and the grid isn’t ready for the increase in power. The general problem with this is that the government is trying to pick winners, it is trying to choose the technology and the way forward by banning petrol cars, insisting on heat pumps and so on. 

“The best way is to let the market work, put in a carbon tax and the emissions trading scheme or whatever, but let the market sort out which is the best way forward. It may be electric cars or it may be something else like hydrogen – which has a lot of promise. But the best way is to let the market and innovation decide the way forward.”

Urging the Government to revisit fracking, he added: “If we are going to be dependent on anybody, I would want it to be the Americans and not the Russians or some other players around the world. But it is best to produce your own energy if you can, if you can do it cost effectively. We still can produce North Sea gas and oil – we’ve been discouraging investment in that, but now we need to change that fast. 

“I’m personally in favour of at least trying fracking, to see if we can do that effectively. And I think there’s a degree of hypocrisy on the part of those who won’t do fracking in the UK but are perfectly happy to import large quantities of fracked gas from the US, Qatar or anywhere else. It’s just a bit unreasonable to look at things in that way. We need to be responsible for our own security of supply.”

The full interview with Lord Frost will be broadcast on GB News tomorrow, with Liam Halligan.

Source: GB News

1 COMMENT

  1. “But the best way is to let the market and innovation decide the way forward.”

    Was it not the market which put tetraethyl lead in gasoline, encouraged doctors to proscribe thalidomide for pregnant women, created the ozone hole with CFCs, and caused the current problems of climate change due to burning fossil fuels, in the first place?

    How can one rely on the market to solve the problem this time?

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