‘Energy support package Is Inadequate’ says Retail NI

New scheme provides a subsidy to electricity bills of 1.96p per kilowatt hour for all business customers paying over a minimum rate



10 January 2023

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Northern Ireland retailers’ group Retail NI has dubbed the UK government’s energy support package for businesses as “inadequate, poorly targeted and ultimately pointless” as local shops and many other businesses face a massive hike in energy costs from April 2023.

The government is currently reducing business energy bills by effectively controlling the wholesale price that is the main component of businesses’ energy bills. After extensive consultation, the government will be moving away from this model in April and instead providing a subsidy to electricity bills of 1.96p per kilowatt hour for all business customers paying over a minimum rate.

Retail NI chief executive Glyn Roberts described the new package of business support as “woefully inadequate”.

“By moving to a subsidy on energy bills and failing to target specific sectors or those worst affected, the government has spread support over every type of business, the result being a level of subsidy that is ultimately pointless,” Roberts said.

“Make no mistake, local shops will go out of business if the government does not rethink its approach before April. Retailers who struck contracts at the peak of the wholesale energy price will still see their bills quadruple even with this meagre support, blowing their commercial model out of the water”

“In Northern Ireland the problem is much more acute,” he added. “Our members are not getting the same level of Business Rates Relief the rest of the UK is getting.

“English independent retailers receive 75% discount on their rates bill, while their Northern Ireland counterparts are getting nothing”

“It is not too late for the Chancellor to reconsider the support he is offering, to find practical ways of targeting it more effectively, provide our members with the same level of Rates relief as England and to save the businesses who he is effectively consigning to closure with his decision.”





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