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Businesses to get backdated support for energy bills if scheme delayed

·2-min read
Downing Street said it will backdate energy bills for businesses, if the support scheme is delayed (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Wire)
Downing Street said it will backdate energy bills for businesses, if the support scheme is delayed (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Wire)

The Government has promised to backdate energy bill support for businesses, amid concerns that the promised scheme for struggling firms could be delayed for a number of weeks.

Officials are working on a strategy to support businesses through what is is expected to be a difficult winter, after the Government announced last week an unprecedented package of energy support for UK households.

But some firms have raised concerns at the prospect of having to wait several weeks longer than households for equivalent support.

On Wednesday, Downing Street promised that more details about the supports would come next week alongside a pledge to backdate energy costs for companies if there is a delay to getting the complex new scheme off the ground.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told reporters: “We will confirm further details of the business support scheme next week.

“The scheme will support businesses with their October energy bills and that includes through backdating if necessary.”

It is understood that the new scheme could require new legislation, but Downing Street said that was still being “worked through”.

The Government has been speaking to energy companies and businesses to provide “reassurance” about the promised help, Downing Street said.

Prime Minister Liz Truss (Markus Schreiber/PA) (PA Wire)
Prime Minister Liz Truss (Markus Schreiber/PA) (PA Wire)

“We did recognise there is concern about the support but what we are saying is that we will be providing the support to cover their October bills,” the PM’s spokesman said.

“We’re still working through exactly whether it will need legislation.”

A highly anticipated fiscal event focused on the cost-of-living crisis could come as soon as next week as Liz Truss’ administration faces a highly constrained parliamentary timetable ahead of party conference recess.

Much day-to-day politics has been placed on hold, with the country in the middle of a period of mourning to mark the death of the Queen.

The Government has insisted that any delay is not due to the death of the monarch, but more down to the challenge of devising a fresh scheme from scratch.

“We’re having to build a brand new system to deliver this support, rather than using the existing one,” the spokesman said.

The household scheme, which will be paid for with tens of billions of pounds of borrowing, guarantees that for two years bills for the average home will not increase past £2,500, saving typical households around £1,000.