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NHBF responds to reduced energy support scheme for businesses

Tom Shearsmith
10 January 2023

The UK Government has announced the introduction of an Energy Bills Discount Scheme from 31 March 2023 to March 2024, replacing the current support to provide discount on gas and electricity unit prices to businesses.

This new support will give businesses with an energy contract discounts on wholesale prices of up to £6.97 per megawatt an hour for electricity and £19.61 per megawatt an hour for gas.

The new support is much less than the current discount because wholesale energy costs have fallen closer to where they were before just before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and almost halved since the current scheme was announced.

The Government confirmed that business will receive the discount automatically. The Government estimates that a typical small retailer will save around £400 off their annual bill.

Responding to the announcement, Richard Lambert, NHBF Chief Executive Officer, said: "We are relieved that the Government has answered our call and that the hair & beauty sector will at least receive some support via the Energy Bills Discount Scheme. However, many will see the discount swallowed up in the first month or two of the energy price increases they are already facing.

"Energy costs are the first or second largest outgoing for most hair and beauty salons and barbershops and it remains to be seen whether this reduced support will help many keep the doors open and lights on beyond March 2023.

"Our sector is locked in a fight for survival through the cost of doing business crisis and with 20% of businesses saying that they likely to downsize or close over the next few months, further support will be needed to ensure that this sector can continue to make its significant contribution to vibrant high streets and community wellbeing."

Businesses hit hard by the pandemic missed out on around £300 million of business rates relief, according to analysis of new Government figures.

The Government has handed out only 80% of the cash available from its £1.5 billion COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF), which was designed to aid businesses such as commercial landlords which were not covered by other tax relief schemes, according to analysis by experts at Gerald Eve.

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