A FORMER Tory minister has suggested people concerned about skyrocketing energy costs should “get their chimney swept, now” in an effort to cut bills.

Edwina Currie, who served in Margaret Thatcher's government, further suggested people should get an air-fryer rather than using an oven.

The comments came amid a row with money saving expert Martin Lewis, who she had criticised for speaking out on the lack of action from the UK Government.

On August 26, UK energy regulator Ofgem announced that the price cap on energy would be raised by 80.06% from October 1, meaning the average household’s yearly bill would rise from £1971 to £3549.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called for the “unaffordable” price rise to be stopped, but outgoing prime minister Boris Johnson insisted nothing would be done until a new Tory leader had been installed.

On the day of the price cap announcement, no members of the Conservative government were willing to appear on the morning media rounds.

On Wednesday, money-saving expert Lewis invited Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss – whoever is announced as the new Tory leader on September 5 – to appear in an ITV special addressing the cost-of-living crisis.

Responding on Twitter, former Tory health minister Currie hit out at Lewis.

She wrote: “I would like you, Martin, to stop using words like ‘catastrophe’, and instead advise people take sensible steps to reduce the effect on their families and businesses.

“And stop pretending that governments can do everything. They can’t.”

Lewis had previously used the word “catastrophe” to describe the cost-of-living crisis, saying that a second "catastrophe" had been the effect on people's mental health given that the 80% price cap rise had been announced without any firm help from the Government in place.

Asked by the BBC what people could do to afford their bills without help, an emotional Lewis said: "I've been a money saving expert for 20 years and I don't have an answer. I don't have an answer because there isn't one."

However, Currie insisted that Lewis should “bang on about what to do to save money”.

She suggested her own tips, including getting your “chimney swept, now”, putting foil behind radiators, moving furniture away from radiators, and buying an air-fryer to use instead of having an “oven on for hours”.

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In response to Currie, Lewis wrote on social media: “It is a catastrophe, Edwina! … Energy bills by Jan will cost on avg over half the full state pension and bigger proportion of basic UC. No sensible steps cover that!”

The money-saving expert added that he had outlined cost-cutting tips in his “MoneySavingExpert's Money Tips Email” sent out on Wednesday morning.

Currie responded: “Emphasise the help. Include local authorities, as in Germany.

“Give people something they can do… not just wringing their hands.

“The more those who can reduce usage, the easier it gets for those who can’t. Every little helps.

And no, governments cannot do everything.”