Though NFU president Minette Batters welcomes the announcement of the government’s energy support package, “which will provide a much-needed cushion for farmers, growers and food businesses who are vulnerable to high wholesale energy prices.” She also said that ‘urgent clarity’ is still needed, “on what support will be available for food businesses after the initial six month period.”
The Energy Bill Relief Scheme will provide a discount on wholesale gas and electricity prices for all non-domestic customers (including all UK businesses, the voluntary sector like charities and the public sector such as schools and hospitals) whose current gas and electricity prices have been significantly inflated in light of global energy prices. This support will be equivalent to the Energy Price Guarantee put in place for households.
The government website states: “It will apply to fixed contracts agreed on or after 1 April 2022, as well as to deemed, variable and flexible tariffs and contracts. It will apply to energy usage from 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023, running for an initial 6-month period for all non-domestic energy users. The savings will be first seen in October bills, which are typically received in November.”
However, Ms Batters commented: “Given the package does not cover limits on standing charges, it’s essential the government continues to assess the full impact that energy bills will have on business confidence and production.”
“Energy plays a core role in the production of our food and throughout the food supply chain, from fertiliser production and heating glasshouses and livestock buildings, to baking bread and keeping facilities clean. We simply can’t produce the food the nation needs without affordable energy.”
“Because of this close link between energy and food, the government must prioritise access to affordable energy for food production and the food supply chain. Continued support will be key to curtailing food price inflation going forward and ensuring the provision of affordable, nutritious, climate-friendly food for the country.”