Small businesses need help with rising energy bills, say region’s business leaders - The Rugby Observer
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13th Aug, 2022

Small businesses need help with rising energy bills, say region’s business leaders

SMALL businesses need help with rising energy costs as well as households, the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce has said.

Regulator Ofgem announced a rise in the energy price cap yesterday (Thursday February 3), meaning a typical household will pay an extra £693 a year on their energy bills from April – with a further rise expected in October.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that from October, £200 will be taken off household energy bills – but will have to be paid back in instalments from 2023 – and there would be a £150 Council Tax rebate for those living in band A to D homes.

But Sean Rose, head of policy at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said businesses need support too.

He said: “When we speak to members about the issues that could stifle their growth and recovery from the past two years of Covid-19 restrictions, rising costs is a real cause for concern.

“The increase in energy bills is another headache for companies across the region, especially our smaller businesses.

“It’s right that individuals are supported at this time, but businesses need help too and, along with colleagues at the British Chambers of Commerce, we would also urge the Government to delay the rise in National Insurance.”

Hannah Essex, Co-Executive Director of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “While assistance for households is welcome, businesses will be dismayed at the lack of support for those firms also struggling with their energy bills. Many have already been hit by steep rises, with further significant spikes expected as existing fixed tariff contracts come to an end in the coming months.

“Smaller firms are particularly exposed as they have neither the protections or financial support provided to households, nor do they have the negotiating power of larger businesses.

“Without action, soaring energy bills will force many firms to raise prices further which will, in turn, fuel the cost-of-living crisis for consumers and further drive surging inflationary pressure.

“The Government should expand the Chancellor’s rebate and clawback scheme for households to include small firms, as well as delay the impending National Insurance rise. These steps would give firms a better chance to weather the current storm without needing to pass costs through to consumers in the form of price rises.”

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