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CBI calls for clarity on energy bill reforms

UK industries want the government to explore more policy reforms to tackle the rising energy costs

The United Kingdom’s largest business group has encouraged ministers to immediately conclude on the sectors that will get energy support starting next spring as industries prepare for their energy bills to increase significantly.

Today the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) implored the UK government to present the specifics of how it intends to extend its energy bill relief scheme for significant energy users after the end of March 2023. The CBI further demanded “clarity on the Energy Bill Relief Scheme.”

The energy bill relief scheme, which intends to reduce the wholesale energy bills for all public sector organisations, charities and industries, was put in place in October to recreate the help rendered to UK households from the rising energy bills.

The CBI requires the UK government to clearly define the requirements businesses need to qualify for the energy scheme. Industries have been clamouring for clarity so they can outline their monetary plans for the coming year accordingly.

Furthermore, the CBI urged the government to take the scheme beyond the definition of energy-intensive industries (like chemicals, fertilisers, glass and steel producers) and include other industries like car manufacturers and food and beverage producers. The foyer group estimated that almost 700 firms expect their energy bills to increase drastically by April 2023.

The CBI’s Chief Policy Director, Matthew Fell, stated that the high cost of energy influences the daily choices businesses make. He said that although “there are no easy answers in all these, the government will keep supporting the most vulnerable firms.” The Chief Policy Director added that they would help struggling businesses stay competitive, be firm and possibly avoid collapse.

Fell didn’t fail to mention that the CBI agreed to the decision of the UK government to target the scheme, starting in April, to reduce costs. However, businesses need to know if they qualify for the support before the end of the year.

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It is safe to say businesses need policy reforms to overcome the rise in energy bills during these trying times. The CBI has identified various policy options which the government can take to enable businesses and firms to conquer this financial obstacle. Adding to its stance, the most vulnerable firms, especially SMEs, are being protected from April 2023 and beyond. The CBI also wants companies to have the option of delaying their bills if needed.

In addition, the body desires companies to grant funding via local authorities to lessen the harmful effects of an expected recession, with the CBI demanding additional cash flow support to ensure firms adapt to the high energy cost. According to the body, the government needs to employ policies to drive a step change in companies’ energy investments to make them resilient.

For instance, some companies have stated that they might have to cut off staff, reduce their capital funding and increase their customers’ energy bills if the bills were to rise in April.

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