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Indie Retail welcomes government support for business energy bills

Posted on in Business News

Indie Retail has welcomed the government’s announcement that it will be funding support for business energy bills over the next six months.

Through the new Energy Bill Relief Scheme, the Government will provide a discount on wholesale gas and electricity prices for all non-domestic customers whose current gas and electricity prices have been significantly inflated in light of global energy prices. This support will be equivalent to the Energy Price Guarantee put in place for households. It will apply to fixed contracts agreed on or after 1 April 2022, as well as to deemed, variable and flexible tariffs and contracts.

The scheme will cover energy usage from 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023, running for an initial six-months for all non-domestic energy users. The savings will first take effect for October bills, which are typically received in November.

A spokesperson for Indie Retail said:

“It was essential that the Government put in place support for local independent retailers and, in many cases, will be central to their ability to continue trading. We remain concerned about what will happen at the end of this six-month support package and urge Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to regard today’s announcement as the start of a process to support businesses through the energy crisis whilst intensifying the focus on a more energy efficient future.”

The spokesperson continued that whilst the support is welcome, it shares the Federation of Small Businesses’ concern that small companies may not qualify for the Government’s energy bills support scheme. The FSB is calling for a “hardship fund” to be set up to help businesses ineligible under the scheme or still struggling with costs. Under the scheme, businesses on fixed price contracts signed after April 1 will have their bills fixed at around £211 per megawatt-hour for electricity and £75 per megawatt-hour for gas, while companies on variable contracts will get major discounts. However, the FSB warned that companies may have signed contracts at high prices before April 1, while others have been pushed into difficulty by energy costs since then.

The Prime Minister Liz Truss said: “I understand the huge pressure businesses, charities and public sector organisations are facing with their energy bills, which is why we are taking immediate action to support them over the winter and protect jobs and livelihoods.

“As we are doing for consumers, our new scheme will keep their energy bills down from October, providing certainty and peace of mind.”

The government will review the scheme in three months and then decide on further support after March 2023.

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