Energy prices; time for Ministers to stop feuding over business policy – The Yorkshire Post says

IT does not bode well for any resolution to the crisis over energy bills – or other cost of living challenges – if the Treasury and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy are at loggerheads.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is said to be at loggerheads with Kwasi Kwarteng, the Business Secretary.

These are the two Whitehall departments ultimately responsible for economic growth and the nation’s prosperity. That should be their sole focus – not any briefing war between Rishi Sunak and Kwasi Kwarteng.

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After all, Blair & Brown, the compelling new BBC series charting the rise and fall of New Labour, is a salutary warning on the potential consequences when personal feuds fester and, in time, compromise policy-making.

Kwasi Kwarteng is the Business Secretary.

But the apparent strains between the Treasury and BEIS department are ominous when both should be working in tandem to come up with ways to mitigate the impact of bills on families and also energy-intensive industry.

And these tensions will not help the push by Jake Berry, the ex-Northern Powerhouse Minister, to convince his former colleagues to reform business rates before even more high street shops close for good.

His case is given added credence by new polling which highlights the extent to which thriving high streets and town centres are a priority for families in so-called ‘red wall’ seats – the ongoing regeneration of Barnsley offers a template on what is possible if there’s sufficient innovation and ingenuity. Yet, given how the Tories pride themselves as the party of business in a country long renowned for its affinity with shopkeepers, this is another test of joined-up government that Ministers cannot afford to fail.

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Jake Berry is the former Northern Powerhouse Minister.