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County Cllr calls on the Government to re-think Energy Support Scheme

cllr gibson
Cllr Julie Gibson

“Many businesses will struggle when support is withdrawn”

County Cllr Julie Gibson, the Labour Group Shadow Spokesperson for Economic Development and Growth, has criticised the Government’s decision to change the support businesses receive for their energy bills. From the end of March, businesses will receive reduced support for their energy bills as the Treasury attempts to cut the cost of compensating for soaring gas and electricity prices.

Cllr Gibson said: “A decision on the scheme was due to be made in December, many businesses have been struggling just to find out what the Government’s plans where, but now representatives of small businesses have labelled this move a “huge disappointment” as their support will be drastically reduced. A British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) survey has found 47% of UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) say it will be difficult to pay their energy bills when Government support ends with 4% saying they will not be able to pay their energy bills at all after 31 March 2023.

She continued: “I’ve spoken to small businesses in Lancashire who are worried about the impact on their business after help is withdrawn. But the Government has justified the move by saying the new scheme is a balance between supporting businesses and capping public spending and that it cannot justify spending more public money to support the current scheme. Yet it is strange how the Government were able to find £30 billion to plug the hole in the economy left by the Liz Truss mini-budget, but can’t guarantee help for firms who are already struggling.”

Cllr Gibson said: “Since the onset of Covid, we’ve lost half a million small firms. (figs from Simply Business website) Allowing more businesses to go under would be a false economy. Business organisations such as the Confederation of British Industry, Federation of Small Businesses, British Chambers of Commerce, Institute of Directors, Make UK, UK Hospitality, and the British Beer and Pub Association, are all concerned that the change in the scheme will lead to businesses downsizing, or in the most extreme cases closing all together, resulting in thousands of job losses. I urge the Government to listen to them and re-think this scheme before it is too late.”

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