A TORY minister has denied that the UK is set to run out of gas this winter.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has been holding talks with the energy sector following a sharp rise in the wholesale price of natural gas.

The crisis has raised fears of further food shortages and soaring energy bills.

Following the meetings, COP26 president Alok Sharma said the public should be reassured there is no immediate cause for concern.

"The clear message that is coming out of this is that there is no immediate concern in terms of supply, we don't see any risks going into the winter," he told Sky News's Trevor Phillips on Sunday programme.

"People should be confident that the supplies will be there and that we will be protecting them in terms of price rises. But of course we are not complacent about this."

A spike in natural gas prices has prompted electricity costs to soar because gas is used in the production of electricity.

The surge is threatening the survival of smaller electricity suppliers and has even prompted price comparison sites to stop offering energy tariffs.

One of the UK’s biggest comparison platforms, Compare the Market, said it was pausing comparisons because “energy suppliers are currently restricting the number of tariffs available”.

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Some studies have suggested the price hikes could cost households up to £400 a year.

The gas shortage is also likely to exacerbate food shortages as CO2, a byproduct of heavy industry, is used to slaughter animals.

On energy supply, Labour’s shadow economic secretary to the Treasury Pat McFadden said: "This really must act as a spur to avoid situations like this where suddenly we're very exposed when there's an international price spike."

He told Sky News's Trevor Phillips on Sunday programme: "In the short term what the Business Secretary must do is ensure continuity of supply, that's a basic duty of Government for both domestic consumers and for businesses.

"We've seen other ramifications of this over the last 24/48 hours, for example on food supplies, with CO2 being a necessary by-product, and in the long-term what this has shown is the need to get on with the transition to net-zero and the vulnerability of the reliance on fossil fuel markets, especially international ones.

"This should act as a spur to get on with the transition to net-zero, more renewable and sustainable supplies because the effect of all this will be rising prices for consumers just when they're being hit with other things too."

McFadden insisted the issue should have been anticipated.

He continued: "Some of this may be unforeseen, but a lot of it should have been foreseen and we can't be surprised by net-zero like somebody being surprised by Christmas one year, we've got legislation that says we have to do this and that means that Government has to have a plan to get there.

"Certainly the direction of travel must be that we decrease our reliance on fossil fuels, we increase our use of renewables."

On new fossil fuel projects, he said: "The bar should be high for that and there has to be a very convincing case given the overall arc of where we've got to get to on 2030, so I don't think these things should be approved on the nod in the way that they would have been in the past, because that's not the future.

"The future is renewables and sustainable energy and that's where we've got to get to."