Government introduces Energy Prices Bill

The UK government is looking to help with on-trade energy bills this winter.

The UK government has introduced new emergency powers that will mean pubs and bars across the country will receive further help with their energy bills this winter.

The Energy Prices Bill, introduced in parliament on 12 October 2022, provides the legislative footing needed to ensure that businesses across the UK receive support with their energy bills this winter through the Energy Bill Relief Scheme.

On-trade businesses had been left facing increasing financial turmoil, with energy bills estimated to increase to astronomical levels.

Recently announced support, however, will see businesses paying less than half of predicted wholesale costs this winter.

This Energy Prices Bill includes essential measures that enable the UK government to deliver comparable schemes in Northern Ireland and legislation that will require landlords and heat network operators to pass benefits through to tenants.

The government has said that low-carbon electricity generation from renewables and nuclear will be key to securing more low-cost homegrown energy.

“The government’s intervention to support hospitality businesses facing soaring energy costs this winter is extremely welcome and it’s fantastic to see this legislation introduced," says UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls. "The measures in this Bill will provide relief to all manner of hospitality businesses, from the smallest companies to the largest.

“The introduction of these measures follows months of campaigning by UKHospitality to ensure the government recognised the huge impact rising energy costs will have on our sector.

“I’m pleased that the government has continued to listen to the sector to ensure its relief package is inclusive for all. Its decision to expand the scheme to include operators on fixed price contracts agreed from 1 December 2021 has avoided unfairly penalising businesses who had acted early to protect themselves from further price hikes. The publication of wholesale energy prices will also provide much-needed clarity for businesses.

“Unfortunately, the reality of this crisis means that, even with this support, energy bills will still be much higher than last year and many hospitality businesses will struggle to make it through to next spring. What the sector really needs now is the introduction of longer-term measures that can allow us to boost economic growth, namely a lower rate of VAT and further business rates relief.”

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