BORIS Johnson has promised £700 million of funding for the Sizewell C nuclear power project as part of a drive to improve the UK’s energy security - despite no new policies to help families with the cost-of-living crisis.

The Prime Minister said the spike in gas prices driven by Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine showed why new nuclear generation capacity was needed in the UK.

The new reactor at the Sizewell site in Suffolk is expected to be built in partnership with energy firm EDF and could power the equivalent of about six million homes.

“We need to pull our national finger out and get on with Sizewell C,” Johnson said in his final major policy speech as Prime Minister.

“That’s why we’re putting £700m into the deal, just part of the £1.7 billion of Government funding available for developing a large-scale nuclear project to final investment stage in this Parliament.

“In the course of the next few weeks I am absolutely confident that it will get over the line.”

The Tory leader said he was “absolutely confident it will get over the line” in the next few weeks.

It comes despite promises there would be no new major policy announcements during the Tory leadership contest, with criticism mounting over a lack of help during the cost-of-living crisis.

Speaking at Sizewell, Johnson said it would be “madness” not to go ahead with the nuclear plant.

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Johnson said that if the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station “were already running this year – it has been delayed for ages and ages, of course – it would be cutting fuel bills by £3 billion”.

He said: “In the course of the next few weeks, I am absolutely confident that it will get over the line, and we will get it over the line because it would be absolute madness not to.”

The outgoing PM hit out at “paralysis over British nuclear energy”.

Labelling the problem as “myopia”, the outgoing Prime Minister said: “It is called short-termism. It is a chronic case of politicians not being able to see beyond the political cycle.”

Johnson, entering his final days in office, spoke about how as a child he read a Ladybird book on the story of nuclear power.

He also recalled reading about how scientists split the atom for the first time, recalling the “optimism” of that book.

“What happened to us?” he asked.

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“When Sizewell opened in 1966 it was the eighth reactor that this country had built in just seven years.”

He compared the UK to France and other countries: “Why have we never got back to that kind of rhythm?”

“For 13 years the previous Labour Government did absolutely nothing to develop this country’s nuclear industry. They said it didn’t make economic sense.”

“Thanks a bunch Tony. Thanks a bunch Gordon.”