Business leaders across Milton Keynes have welcomed the capping of wholesale energy prices for businesses for the next six months – but have warned that longer-term help will be needed.
The Government’s Energy Bill Relief Scheme will take effect from October 1 for all non-domestic energy customers in England, Scotland and Wales.
The scheme has set a cap of 21.1p per kWh for electricity, and 7.5pm per kWh for gas when the current wholesale prices for both are 60p and 18p respectively.
Louise Wall, Chief Executive of the Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce, said: “Businesses who have been performing at the top of their game for many years are now being tipped into losses and as a result, are considering whether they are viable anymore, so we are pleased that this new government is taking the issue seriously and we welcome this latest announcement.
“This intervention will help many businesses over the difficult winter period and as a ‘Voice of Business’ we will be campaigning hard to ensure that this support package is extended beyond the initial six months and until global prices have stabilised.
“What this energy crisis has highlighted is the fragile nature of the energy supply across Europe and our dependence on unsustainable fossil fuels. We need huge investment in nuclear power and a national focus on wind and solar generation
“An ambitious plan to make the UK a net -energy exporter would ensure that businesses throughout the United Kingdom are protected from these volatile situations again and will only make the UK a more attractive place to live, work and invest”
Shevaun Haviland, Director General of the BCC, added: “For months we have been calling for Government intervention to help businesses with eye watering energy bills. This support package is significant and will ease the cost pressures that have been piling up on businesses.
“It will allow many firms that were facing closure, or having to lay off staff or reduce output, to keep going through the winter.
“But the exact level of support will vary greatly from business to business depending on the detail of its contract, so some will inevitably do better than others.
“We now need action to get this saving passed onto business as soon as possible – every day will put some firms closer to the edge and they cannot hang on much longer.
“There must also be effective legal oversight to ensure no firms that are due this money miss out.
“For those that will benefit, six months support is not enough to make plans for the future.
“We understand there are a range of unknowns for the Government in looking ahead, but without further reassurance very few firms will make plans to invest or grow.
“Some businesses will still struggle to meet their bills despite this government intervention, the Chancellor must prioritise those firms in his mini-budget on Friday.
“There are a range of other challenges that must be addressed including labour shortages, supply chain disruption, and rising raw material costs.
“To truly revitalise our economy for the difficult months ahead then there must be a clear long-term plan that gives business the confidence to grow.”