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On Wednesday, September 21, Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg unveiled the government’s energy bill relief plan.
This means there will be a discount on wholesale gas and electricity prices for all non-domestic customers such as pubs.
It will apply to fixed contracts concluded on or after April 1, 2022 as well as to rates and contracts deemed to be variable and flexible.
The reduction will apply to energy consumption from October 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023, for an initial period of six months. Savings will take effect from October invoices, which are usually received in November.
Trade bodies and industry executives responded to the announcement with the British Beer & Pub Association welcoming the intervention, calling it “a lifeline for many pubs and brewers this winter”.
Industry representatives say the government has not gone far enough in supporting the hospitality sector.
Sacha Lord, Greater Manchester Nightlife Adviser, said: “I am delighted that the economic importance of pubs and the hospitality sector is finally being recognized and support is being pledged beyond this initial six month period. These plans could help avoid the layoffs we expected in the sector.
“However, only time will tell if the government has gone far enough. Even with this help, businesses will still be paying more than they are used to, and in the wake of the pandemic the real concern is whether they can afford to continue trading even with the support on offer.
Calls for further support for the sector were echoed by Punch Pubs & Co managing director Clive Chesser.
“We must also remember that while an energy price cap will help alleviate some of the specific challenges over the next six months, this crisis is combined with other extreme cost increases and has significantly reduced confidence and the purchasing power of consumers, which means additional support is needed. if he wants to be really effective in preventing pub closures and unimaginable job losses,” says Chesser.
“The pressure on businesses large and small remains unrelenting.”