Decision on further energy bill support for businesses postponed until New Year

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Decision on further energy bill support for businesses postponed until New Year

Related tags Energy Bill Relief Scheme Energy Energy costs Hospitality Kate nicholls ukhospitality Government

A decision on extending help for businesses facing soaring energy bills will not be made until the new year, the Treasury has said.

Currently wholesale gas and electricity prices have been fixed for firms for an 'initial' six month period until the end of March 2023, but details on what further support, if any, will be provided to businesses beyond that date is yet to be confirmed. 

Ministers had promised to make an announcement before the end of 2022, but on Monday (19 December) the Treasury said its final decision would now not be announced until the start of 2023.

“We are protecting businesses from high energy costs this winter, caused by Putin's invasion of Ukraine, through the six-month £18bn Energy Bill Relief Scheme,” a spokesperson said.

“However, this is very expensive, and we need to ensure longer-term affordability and value for money for the taxpayer.

“That is why we are currently carrying out a review with the aim of reducing the public finances' exposure to volatile international energy prices from April 2023. We will announce the outcome of this review in the New Year to ensure businesses have sufficient certainty about future support before the current scheme ends in March 2023.”

Business groups have been calling for the Government to provide certainty to businesses on energy support, and the decision to postpone the announcement has been met with disappointment by those in the hospitality sector. 

“The Government’s postponement of an announcement on future energy support until the New Year, comes at a time when businesses are facing rising bills and rates that fluctuate daily,” says Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality.

“Operators thus need urgent clarity in order to make business critical decisions for 2023 and, in the meantime, we urge OFGEM to continue to pressure energy suppliers to deal fairly with commercial customers and to clamp down on poor practices and unfair terms.”

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