Calls for Covid-style grants to help with businesses' energy bills

08 December 2022 by
Calls for Covid-style grants to help with businesses' energy bills

One of Britain's biggest business groups has called on the government to offer Covid-style grants to firms struggling with rising energy bills.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said local authorities should be given funding to distribute to small and medium-sized businesses exposed to higher energy costs.

It also wants firms to be able to defer paying energy bills as part of an ongoing package of support beyond next spring.

The government has not yet clarified which sectors will continue to receive help with their energy costs beyond April 2023 despite promising to complete a review by Christmas.

The CBI said vulnerable sectors were unable to plan for the next year. A survey of nearly 700 businesses by the lobby group found many expect their bills to more than double without intervention next spring.

The CBI wants any extension to the Energy Bill Relief Scheme to include food and drink manufacturers and for small firms to be offered vouchers to spend on improving energy efficiency or solar panels.

Matthew Fell, chief policy director of the CBI, said: "There are no easy answers in all this, but the Government will have to keep supporting the most vulnerable firms to help them stay competitive, to build resilience and in some cases to avoid collapse."

A senior civil servant in the business department this week said the government was still expecting to clarify future energy support by the end of the year, PA reported.

Hospitality operators have warned they could see profits wiped out with many more forced to close unless the support scheme is extended next year.

Others have reported being unable to switch suppliers and being hit with unexpected charges outside their standard rates.

The government did not respond to The Caterer's requests for comment.

Image: NTRdesign / Shutterstock

TagsCBI and Energy
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