Chamber boss calls for Government to go further with energy support

Jan 26, 2023

The Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce’s MD has spoken out following the Government’s announcement of the new Energy Bill Discount Scheme and the Bank of England’s surprise announcement that a recession will not be declared thanks to an economic growth of 0.1 per cent in November 2022.

Martin Hathaway, managing director at the Mid Yorkshire Chamber, said: “While it is promising that the UK is not yet in a recession, this should in no means be interpreted as a sign of economic upturn.

“Recession still looms, and it is highly likely that it will be declared this year, just later than expected.

“Firms are still struggling, many still from Covid-19, and the continuation of astronomical energy bills will unfortunately be the end for otherwise strong and sustainable business.

“We appreciate the Government taking steps to put support in place for when the Energy Bill Relief Scheme comes to an end this March, but I worry that it does not go far enough.

“We are in no better position with energy prices for business, so why should the support be any less? Firms are now looking at an 85 per cent drop-in financial support.

“Instead of package after package of support, I stand with the British Chambers of Commerce in calling for a longer-term energy support strategy that will set businesses up for a prosperous future, rather than just throwing them a lifeline when times get hard.”

The British Chambers of Commerce are calling for Government to prioritise the following measures:

· Increase OFGEM’s powers: Ensure effective competition in the business energy market for non-domestic contracts by extending OFGEM’s regulatory powers to guarantee businesses access competitive fixed rate contracts, and energy providers move swiftly to pass on wholesale price reductions.

· Energy production: Government to bring forward ambitious plans to enable more renewable and sustainable energy production across the UK.

· National energy saving campaign: Government should launch a national campaign with support initiatives for businesses to drive down current consumption through energy efficiency measures, such as green grants and tax incentives.

The Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce is accredited by the British Chambers of Commerce, aiming to drive growth across Halifax, Huddersfield and Wakefield by providing support and benefits.

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