Energy Bills Relief Scheme causes mixed reaction in business sector
Retail NI Comments on Business Secretary Energy Cap Statement
Retail NI has reacting to the Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg, statement on Energy bills.
Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said: “Given the crippling financial difficulties that local independent retailers and other small businesses are experiencing, it is hugely disappointing that more clarity was not provided on the Energy Cap.”
“We have been given no timelines on how the Energy cap will apply to Northern Ireland business owners. This is unacceptable and our members deserve better. “
“This is not just a Cost of Doing Business Crisis-it has now an emergency”
“Government needs to ensure that a clear date is provided for the introduction of the Energy Bill Cap, a business rates holiday and VAT reductions to support local small businesses”
Energy Bill Relief Scheme will provide much needed short-term reassurance for business says IoD
The Institute of Directors has commented on the Government publishing details of the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, which it says will protect businesses from the worst of the current increases in international energy prices, by providing a discount on wholesale gas and electricity prices.
The scheme will apply to energy usage from 1st October 2022 to 31st March 2023.
It will run for an initial six-month period for all non-domestic energy users. Customers do not need to take any action, as the support will be automatically applied to bills.
To administer support, the Government has set a Supported Wholesale Price – expected to be £211 per MWh for electricity and £75 per MWh for gas.
Responding to the detail of the scheme, Jonathan Geldart, Director General of the Institute of Directors, said: “This is an important intervention by the government and provides much needed short-term reassurance for the numerous firms that are facing soaring energy bills.
“We particularly welcome the decision to include all contracts signed since 1st April 2022 within the scope of the new arrangements A
“Also we welcome the commitment to work with suppliers to ensure all businesses currently on variable contracts have the option of a fixing rate deal that benefits from the government support price.
“Currently around 1 in 4 firms are on variable arrangements so it is important they are now given maximum certainty to help them plan.
“We look forward to working with the government in the coming months to ensure that any further relief is carefully targeted at those industries and sectors whose survival is most threatened by current economic conditions.
“Ultimately, however, business and government will need to work hand-in-hand to develop domestic energy sources and reduce consumption and dependency on expensive fossil fuels.”
Further detail on the Energy Bill Relief Scheme can be found here.
FSB NI reacts to energy support for small businesses
Following the announcement by the Business Secretary of support for businesses with energy costs, Alan Lowry, FSB NI Policy Chair said: “This is a positive first step which we hope will ease the pain experienced by small businesses as a result of spiralling energy prices.
“Given the differences in how the energy market is structured here, it is paramount that the new supported wholesale price applies in Northern Ireland without delay.
“Energy providers must pass the benefits to businesses in full, and work constructively to support those who may already be struggling to pay their bills.”
“Whilst the commitment to cap energy costs is welcome, doing so for only six months simply isn’t enough.
“To support business owners to a point where they will just face the same issues at a cliff edge in the new year is illogical.”
“We must also see a robust long-term plan being put in place which will help to alleviate the intolerable pressure on SMEs across Northern Ireland.”
“We require a series of measures, including the provision of direct financial support to help with bills to enable small businesses to survive the critical winter months.”
“It is crucial that all possible steps are taken by Ministers at Westminster and Stormont to share the burden and provide assistance as a matter of real urgency.”