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5th April 2023

Calls for more support for businesses facing high energy costs

Yesterday (5 April), Vaughan Gething MS called on the UK Government to do more to support businesses in Wales who are facing ever-increasing energy costs.

Vaughan Gething, Economy Minister, Welsh Government, said:

“The message from Welsh businesses is very clear – high energy costs are having a devastating impact.

“High energy costs have been a long-standing problem for businesses. We share their concern that the maximum discount is set at a level that will not be sufficient if prices spike, and will further harm their competitiveness and, in many cases, their viability.

“I’m calling again on the UK Government to bring forward an additional package of measures that will help Welsh businesses, third and public sectors through this incredibly difficult period, tackle the long-standing issue of high energy prices in the UK and support the transition to Net Zero.”

The Economy Minister had chaired a meeting of energy supply companies and representatives of Welsh business, including Chambers Wales South East, South West and Mid, to discuss the impact of high energy prices, what energy companies can do to help and what can be done to facilitate further support.

Paul Butterworth, Interim CEO of Chambers Wales South East, South West and Mid, said:

“As of 1 April, support for businesses’ energy bills dropped by 85% as the Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS) came to an end.

“It has now been replaced by the Energy Bill Discount Scheme (EBDS) which will provide, on average, £400 per year, for SMEs while their energy bills are in the thousands per month. Larger energy intensive firms, such as Welsh manufacturers, receive less of a reduction.

“While wholesale prices are reducing, businesses are not yet seeing that reduction. Therefore, the drop-off in support is a blanket rise in energy prices for sectors who do not meet the classification of energy intensive industries, like hospitality.

“The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) stated that 47% of UK businesses would find paying their energy bills difficult from 1 April. That represents over 125,000 businesses in Wales alone who will struggle.

“Chambers Wales South East, South West and Mid are joining the BCC in calling for an increase in Ofgem’s powers to help better regulate the energy market for businesses.

“With inflation rising again, the end of the super deduction and potential changes to business rates, firms cannot be expected to take on additional costs without significant risks.”

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