Businesses await details of support to cope with rising utility bills

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Security needs to be provided to tackle rising energy bills, Jacob Rees-Mogg has been told as he finalizes his package to help struggling businesses.

The Business Secretary is expected to announce Wednesday how businesses, schools, hospitals, charities and other non-household consumers will be spared some of the pain of rising gas and electricity bills.

The government has already announced that bills for an average household in England, Scotland and Wales will be capped at £2,500 from October 1, but although businesses have been promised equal support, they are awaiting details as officials draft a tailor-made scheme.

Because companies have not taken advantage of the existing energy price cap and are not always able to set their energy prices through fixed deals, many report projected increases in energy costs of more than 500%.

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The government is planning a six-month scheme for all non-domestic energy consumers, but it will then be replaced by a targeted system targeting the most vulnerable industries.

Prime Minister Liz Truss suggested pubs could be covered by the longer-term support.

She told ITV News in New York: “The Business Secretary is conducting an assessment of exactly which companies will be included – that assessment will be completed within three months.

“I can reassure people who own pubs that they are exactly the kind of businesses that will get that support in the longer term.”

Tina McKenzie, policy chair of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: “Our latest research shows that nearly two-thirds of small businesses are paying more for energy this year than last year, with two in five double, triple or even more. higher increases in their bills.

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“We hope that the energy price guarantee means an equal amount of support per unit of energy as the support that households receive.

“It should give companies a degree of certainty about their energy prices for six months, so that they can confidently plan the winter.

“Right now they can’t plan, and they’re waiting for the announcement tomorrow to be the time when they can.”

The complexity of setting up a new scheme has raised concerns that the aid for businesses may not be introduced by October 1, and the FSB said aid should be granted retroactively if the system is not operational by then.

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“Many small businesses have October 1 as the start date for new contracts, so we’d like to see the price guarantee come into effect for those who sign new contracts from then on, as well as those who have seen prices astronomical in recent months. increased,” said Ms McKenzie.

“There should also be a retroactive commitment now, especially if it doesn’t roll out until November.”

She also expressed concern about the prospect of a six-month cliff edge for businesses that may not qualify for ongoing support.

“There are no such things as ‘vulnerable sectors’ and ‘non-vulnerable sectors’ when it comes to these energy surges, so we will encourage the government to take a broader approach so that everyone who is still deeply affected is covered. ”

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