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Businesses need information on energy support ‘urgently’

·2-min read
Small businesses are likely to struggle under the weight of record energy bills. (Danny Lawson/PA) (PA Wire)
Small businesses are likely to struggle under the weight of record energy bills. (Danny Lawson/PA) (PA Wire)

Business groups have said they “urgently” need to know more about the Government’s promise that it will help them with bills.

The Food and Drink Federation said that the support, announced last week, “is very welcome”, but the sector needs urgent talks with ministers to understand its scope.

It comes as businesses deal with similar runaway energy costs that are hitting households across the country.

A report in the Financial Times on Wednesday suggested that it could be months before the support reaches businesses.

One Government official said that they did not know whether the support could be in place before November, although it will start for households from the start of October.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “Pubs and brewers will not be able to wait days, let alone months to get clarity on their energy bills.

“Many are making decisions now as to whether they will have to close this winter.”

So far all they have is a vague promise from the Prime Minister for six months of support that is “equivalent” to what households will get.

“We need urgent clarity on whether this cap will deliver for businesses and help them out of a crisis that has been building for months and urge the Chancellor to seriously consider what immediate reassurance he can give for the thousands of business owners currently in despair,” Ms McClarkin said.

The Food and Drink Federation boss Karen Betts said that her members have been facing a “relentless rise in ingredient, energy and input costs” for two years.

“It’s worrying for households because the cost of everyone’s shopping is continuing to rise, and for businesses which are struggling to make ends meet amid exponential rises in their costs,” she said.

“The support the Prime Minister announced to help households and businesses deal with soaring energy bills is very welcome.

“However, our sector urgently needs a more detailed conversation with the UK Government on the scope of the business energy support scheme.

“The resilience of the food and drink supply chain has been eroded by successive crises, and real fragilities are now being exposed by soaring inflation.”

A Government spokesperson said: “We will confirm further details of the business support scheme next week. The scheme will support businesses with their October energy bills, including through backdating if necessary.”