APPG calls for evidence on energy crisis impact

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Top priority: APPG calls for evidence of energy crisis impact ahead of inquiry with food minister Mark Spencer (Pictured / Credit: Parliament UK)
Top priority: APPG calls for evidence of energy crisis impact ahead of inquiry with food minister Mark Spencer (Pictured / Credit: Parliament UK)

Related tags Food Drink Government Legislation Energy Bill Relief Scheme Finance

The Food and Drink Supply Chain All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) has called for food and drink businesses to provide information on how rocketing energy costs have impacted trade ahead of a meeting with food minister Mark Spencer.

Spencer is set to meet with MPs on Wednesday 18 January to discuss the impact the energy crisis has had on the food and drink supply chain for consumers and businesses across the UK and how the Government plans to support the sector after the Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS​) expires in March.

Additionally, the APPG urged ensuring affordable food and drink supplies and tackling the short- and medium-term impact of the energy crisis on producers, distributors and retailers should be the minister’s priority. 

More resilient supply chain 

Interim chair of the APPG Sharon Hodgson MP said: “Spiralling energy prices are having a major impact​ on food and drink businesses, intensifying the cost of doing business, and driving food price inflation to worrying levels.  

“This is why we have invited the food minister Mark Spencer to give evidence to the APPG so he can outline the Government’s plan to support this vital sector after the initial scheme ends in March, and to set out how we can build a stronger, more resilient supply chain in the future.” 

Ahead of the inquiry, the APPG called for businesses to provide information regarding how much their energy bills have risen over the past six months, what percentage of operating costs they represent, how rising costs have impacted them and their ability to trade, what effect rising costs will have for consumers and how they are managing the volatility of energy prices.

Shadow food minister Daniel Zeichner MP said: “Certainty and stability are something that people are craving. The lack of stability at the moment is not at all helpful.”

Special access 

Moreover, the APPG also urged businesses to detail if the food and drink supply chain should be considered energy intensive, what will happen to the sector ​without energy support after March and what they would like to see the Government provide for both the long and short term.

British Soft Drinks Association director general Gavin Partington said: “We would like to see a reinforcement of the situation during Covid, where the sector is granted special access to energy ​to maintain supplies.” 

The group has already taken evidence from businesses across the food and drink supply chain regarding the deteriorating economic situation ad how redundancies, business closure and a sharp decline in investment within the food supply chain could follow if energy support is not extended after March.

British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “Energy ​used to be 5% of overheads of hospitality businesses, by July it was 10% and by the end of the year it is forecast to be 15%. We will need to see the extension of the energy support beyond six months.” 

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