The government has announced the first of the new measures aimed at tackling energy prices as we enter the winter period. These measures will be rolled out across the UK, with equivalent assistance for Northern Ireland. The main policy included in the package is for typical household energy bills to be capped at £2,500 annually until 2024.
The Prime Minister also said a fund will be created to support those who are not covered by a cap, however there has been no mention of details on how big that fund would be. This includes people who use alternative energy, such as heating oil in their homes.
Businesses will receive support, with bills capped for six months initially. We are still awaiting more information on when the full package of measures for businesses will be announced, and the CLA will be updating members with updates as and when they are announced. The support in the first instance will focus on businesses on variable deals, or whose contracts are soon to come to an end.
Immediate cutting of regulations on renewables such as small-scale solar and business rate holidays are just a few examples of what could be done to ease pressures being faced across the countryside
Commenting on the announcement made by the Prime Minister on 8 September, CLA President, Mark Tufnell, said: “The current outlook for rural businesses going into the winter months is grim. Businesses are already closing their doors due to spiking energy costs. Many CLA members are off mains gas and depend on heating oil. It is pleasing to learn that the Government will be offering support for these customers with a dedicated fund."
Mark continued: “The energy package announced by the Government today is welcomed to a degree, however a 6-month cap for businesses is too short a time horizon. A cap on the unit rate makes sense, but the Government must act to stop the increase in standing charges."
To finalise, Mark issued a call to action for the government to immediately ease energy pressures on rural businesses by saying: “Members’ data shows that there is no real competition in the energy market, and this needs to be reviewed urgently. In the meantime, immediate cutting of regulations on renewables such as small-scale solar and business rate holidays are just a few examples of what could be done to ease pressures being faced across the countryside.”