Announced today (Monday 9 January), Hunt detailed the new Energy Bill Discount Scheme, set to replace the Energy Bill Relief Scheme when it expires in March, will see non-domestic energy customers receive discounts on wholesale prices.
Firms paying higher energy costs will see a unit discount of up to £6.97/MWh automatically applied to their gas bill and a discount of up to £19.61/Mwh applied to their electricity bills.
However, the new scheme, which will run until Sunday 31 March 2024, will not apply to those paying lower energy prices.
Additionally, the Chancellor announced the new support package was to be reduced to £5.5bn with the current £18bn EBRS, which equated to an increase of around 3p on people’s income tax according to the Government, previously cited as “unsustainably expensive”.
Speaking in the House of Commons today Hunt said: “My top priority is tackling the rising cost of living, something both families and businesses are struggling with.
“That means taking difficult decisions to bring down inflation while giving as much support to families and business as we are able.”
The Chancellor added while wholesale energy prices had fallen back to the same levels as before Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the new scheme would provide “reassurance against the risk of prices rising again” and give businesses the “certainty” they need.
Lost for good
He concluded: “Even though prices are falling, I am concerned this is not being passed on to businesses, so I’ve written to OFGEM asking for an update on whether further action is needed to make sure the market is working for businesses.”
This comes as trade bodies and leaders from across the hospitality sector last week met with the Chancellor, urging him to extend energy support at its current level to “safeguard” pubs and breweries.
British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “Without extended support at close to current levels, pubs and brewers in communities across the country could be lost for good.
“Energy costs are the single biggest threat to our industry right now. The failure to safeguard pubs and breweries from price increases come April will be the last straw for businesses who have been struggling for three years to remain solvent and serving their communities.”