Energy support could be delayed until November

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Worry: Energy support package for businesses could be delayed for months (Getty/ Scott E Barbour)
Worry: Energy support package for businesses could be delayed for months (Getty/ Scott E Barbour)

Related tags Finance

Companies may have to wait longer than households for help from its £150bn energy support package, which could be delayed until November.

This comes after the sector called on Government for urgent relief ​after research revealed nearly three quarters of pubs could close​ during winter without support.

One Government official told The Financial Times the package ​was “not worked through yet”. They added: “I don’t know whether it will come in before November, there’s some debate about whether it can be brought forward and happen before then.”

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said the potential delays could be blamed on conference recess – a break during parliamentary session which will span from 22 September to 17 October 2022.

Conference recess

She said: “This is because energy plans​ require legislation – unlike domestic support – and with parliament going back into recess next week there may be insufficient time to pass it before price hikes take effect from 1 October.

“This is why it seems ludicrous to go ahead with conference recess.”

British Beer and Pub Association chief executive Emma McClarkin said pubs and brewers would not be able to wait days, let alone months, to get clarity on their energy bills.

She continued: "Many are making decisions now as to whether they will have to close this winter.

"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.”

The energy scheme, which was announced in the House of Commons last Thursday (8 September), will be reviewed after six months to see if help should be targeted at specific sectors, with the chance of extending it to more vulnerable industries like hospitality.

Complex scenario

A support package​ for Britain’s 28mm households, which will restrict annual gas and electricity bills to £2,500 on average, will commence from October 1.

However, due to companies having no comparable system to the rolling price cap operated for households by Ofgem, the situation for businesses complicated. This means ministers are struggling to work out how to limit energy bills for companies.

Despite some arguing the Queen’s death could further delay plans, a Cabinet Office spokesperson confirmed​ there would be “no plan” to shut down Government in the 10 day national mourning period.

Related topics Legislation

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