There has been support to the value of about £18 billion for businesses to help them with their energy bills, and we are determined to secure the future for our energy-intensive industries and to protect jobs. To support those most at risk of carbon leakage, the Government have announced the British industry supercharger, to support those most exposed to the cost of electricity. Those measures will bring the energy costs of the UK’s energy-intensive industries in line with those charged across the world’s major economies.
Many of the tourism and leisure businesses in Blackpool are energy-intensive, not least the world-famous illuminations and pleasure beach, which now pay hundreds of thousands of pounds more for their energy than previously. Will the Minister meet me to discuss the specific challenges around energy consumption facing the tourism industry, ahead of a busy summer season?
Once again, my hon. Friend is a stout campaigner for his constituency, and for the tourism and leisure businesses in Blackpool. He will know that the decision about which businesses fall within the EII scheme is for the Treasury; I am not sure whether the £63 million for leisure centres falls within that catchment or not, so of course, I will meet with my hon. Friend to make sure he has the absolute clarity that he needs. The EII relief scheme is in place to support the most energy-intensive industries, but let me sit down with him and work out whether that industry falls within that category.
The Government’s support for the energy costs of businesses in my constituency has been most welcome. As the Minister will know, fishing is a key industry there, so I am particularly pleased that the processing and preserving of fish, crustaceans and molluscs is included in the energy and trade intensive industries scheme. Representatives of the Scotch Whisky Association tell me that they are surprised not to be included in that scheme—especially as manufacturers of wine, cider and beer are—despite falling within the top 20% of sectors by energy intensity and the top 40% by trade intensity. Will the Minister meet me and representatives of that industry to discuss this apparent anomaly?
My hon. Friend raises the fishing industry. There are two Back-Bench colleagues present who are huge champions of that industry—I dare not say anything further—and I know that my hon. Friend is a huge promoter of Scottish products, including Scottish whisky. I look forward to a tour post Ramadan at some point soon.
The decision about who falls within the EII scheme was taken by the Treasury. I have been reading about the work that my hon. Friend has been doing on behalf of the sector, and I counter-propose a meeting that involves Treasury officials and Ministers. If my hon. Friend is happy with that, I am more than happy to set it up.
I am honoured to be the chair of the all-party parliamentary group for steel and metal related industries, and I thank the Secretary of State to agreeing to come and meet us—I am very much looking forward to that discussion. However, may I raise again the issue of her Sky interview in which she said, or certainly strongly implied, that it is not a given that we should have a steel industry in this country? Given the rise of authoritarian regimes around the world, the massive role that steel plays in providing good jobs that people can raise a family on and the vital role it plays in the transition to a decarbonised economy, may I invite the Secretary of State to come to the Dispatch Box and clarify her position—that steel is, in fact, a given in the United Kingdom?
Unfortunately, I have to come to the Dispatch Box—that is just the way it works—so I disappoint the hon. Member by not being the Secretary of State. However, he knows that steel is absolutely key to our sovereignty and security and for the resilience of all our sectors. The Secretary of State has mentioned repeatedly that the quotes that are being repeated in the Chamber are a misrepresentation. The commitment to the sector continues. It was in place for years: it is why we had £800 million of support for the energy sector, and it is why we have a £1.5 billion competitive fund to help the sector decarbonise.
Small businesses such as coffee shops and cafés in our high streets are the lifeblood of a local economy—one example would be Jeanie’s Coffee Shop in Baillieston. Running a kitchen all day is an incredibly intensive process for energy, and John Devaney was telling me last week how that business’s energy bills have gone up. As the Minister is being so generous with other meetings, would she be willing to meet me to look at how we can support businesses such as Jeanie’s in Baillieston to ensure that they get through the cost of living crisis?
I will be full of meetings, but I defer to the Minister with responsibility for small businesses, who is more than happy to have that meeting. We have provided billions of pounds of support for businesses to deal with their energy costs, and we have the new supercharger in place. We lobby the Treasury long and hard, and we are more than happy to represent businesses small and large.