Energy Support

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – in the House of Commons on 29th November 2022.

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Photo of James Grundy James Grundy Conservative, Leigh

What steps he is taking to support (a) households and (b) businesses with energy bills in winter 2022-23.

Photo of George Freeman George Freeman The Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

As my colleagues have already pointed out, the Government are supporting households and businesses during the winter through a series of measures including the energy price guarantee, which will save the average household £900 this winter, the £400 energy bill support scheme payment, and, for businesses, the energy bill relief scheme, which will provide a price reduction to ensure that all eligible businesses and other non-domestic customers are protected. That is in addition to the £2 billion that the energy-intensive industries have received since 2013.

Photo of James Grundy James Grundy Conservative, Leigh

Over the last six months, several businesses in my constituency have approached me to raise concerns about potential tenfold increases in their energy bills. Can my hon. Friend assure me that the Government will continue to act to ensure that no business will face such shocking increases in reality, either this year or next year?

Photo of George Freeman George Freeman The Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

In a word, yes. All of us in the Business Department are focused on the point that my hon. Friend raises—namely, the pressure on businesses from the energy price spike this winter. In the autumn statement the Chancellor announced the Treasury-led review of our energy bill relief scheme beyond March, and we are actively working as a Department to make sure that that review has all the necessary data and evidence from businesses. Our energy bill relief scheme supporting energy-intensive industries has put in £2 billion of relief since 2013, and our 2022 energy security strategy announced that the EII compensation scheme would be extended for a further three years. We are also looking at making similar changes to the related EII exemption scheme. The Business Department absolutely gets how much difficulty businesses are facing through energy.

Photo of Andy McDonald Andy McDonald Labour, Middlesbrough

The north-east of England process industry cluster has advised me that major companies on Teesside currently obtaining their energy via a private wire relationship do not qualify for the energy bill relief scheme, with some major employers paying millions more for their energy and facing the real prospect of ceasing operations and moving overseas. Will the Minister meet me to discuss how their concerns can be addressed?

Photo of George Freeman George Freeman The Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Even better than that, I can make sure that the energy Minister, my right hon. Friend Graham Stuart, meets the hon. Gentleman. We are aware of this problem and we are actively working on it.