UK interior minister Suella Braverman said Wednesday that green policies should not mean "bankrupting" British citizens as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak appeared set to soften some of the government's net-zero pledges.
Her comments come amid growing concern of the potential financial cost to citizens of some of the government's net zero policies.
A general election is expected next year and Sunak's Conservative Party is trailing in the polls behind the Labour opposition amid a cost-of-living crisis.
"We absolutely remain committed to delivering net zero by 2050 in line with our international agreements," Braverman said while adding that "we also need to adopt an approach of pragmatism and proportionality".
"We're not going to save the planet by bankrupting the British people," Braverman told Sky News.
"We need to put economic growth first, we need to put household costs and budgets first, we need to put the cost of living first," she added.
Sunak, who is expected to make a speech on the subject this week, said in a statement late Tuesday that while the government was committed to the net zero target, it would try to achieve it "in a better, more proportionate way".
His comments followed British media reports that he was seeking in particular to water down plans to phase out gas boilers from 2035 and delay the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars due in 2030.
Sunak said politicians "of all stripes have not been honest about costs and trade-offs" and that he would "put the long-term interests of our country before the short-term political needs of the moment".
The move risks triggering dissent within Sunak's Conservative Party.
Former Cop26 president and Conservative MP, Alok Sharma warned that "for any party to resile from this agenda will not help economically or electorally".
Chris Skidmore, a Conservative former energy minister who recently led a review into the UK's progress towards net zero, told PA news agency Sunak "still has time to think again and not make the greatest mistake of his premiership".
Other reports suggested that some MPs may even be preparing letters of no confidence should Sunak go ahead with the move.