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Wed 12th Oct 2022 - Update: Government expands energy support package for businesses
Government expands energy support package for businesses: The government’s help for businesses facing crippling energy bills has been expanded. Its energy subsidy scheme for companies has been extended further to cover contracts signed as far back as December 2021. The wider scheme means firms that signed expensive deals when wholesale energy prices jumped following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February can now benefit. The extension means more companies can get help with their energy bills this winter. The Federation of Small Businesses hailed it as “an extremely welcome move”. The government is trying to shield companies from the worst effects of energy prices that have soared since Russia interrupted gas flows to Europe after being sanctioned over its invasion of Ukraine. Bloomberg, which first reported the expanded deal, estimated the initial package may cost from £21bn to £42bn over six months. It is separate from a £130bn scheme to help UK households with their domestic energy bills. Energy officials declined to comment on how much the expansion might increase the cost. Businesses originally had to have signed their latest energy deal after 1 April to become eligible. Critics said the April cut-off point was baffling and made no sense given the price rises began months earlier. The chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng and business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg have both been strongly lobbied by MPs from all sides of Parliament and business groups to review the cut-off point. The move, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy explained, meant help now “covers all recent energy price increases, and will help those businesses who have seen increased bills for a sustained period”. The support package pays for a portion of businesses’ energy costs for six months from October, with the government considering an extension into the future for energy-intense sectors deemed vulnerable. Support is also available for firms on variable or out-of-contract rates. For the scheme to start the government must pass legislation and ministers have promised to push through “urgent legislation” later this month. The scheme will be backdated, officials said. The scheme is intended to lower wholesale costs for businesses down to a level of 21.1p per kilowatt-hour for electricity and 7.5p for gas. Under the original scheme, initially estimated at £40bn, the government will cap the wholesale energy prices that feed into gas and power contracts for businesses for six months but said further targeted support would then be put in place.

Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book shows sector companies increase collective turnover to £32.3bn: The next edition of the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book shows sector companies have increased their collective turnover to £32.3bn – up from £31.3bn in September. Premium subscribers will receive the latest edition of the Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group, on Friday (14 October), at midday. The Blue Book shows more sector companies are making a profit than a loss for the first time since the pandemic. While total losses of £5.4bn are being reported by 314 companies, a further 324 sector companies are reporting total profits of £1.7bn. An additional 18 companies have been added to the Blue Book, taking the total to 638. The Blue Book, which is updated every month, provides an insight into UK operator turnover and profitability over five years, profit conversion and directors’ earnings. Premium subscribers also receive access to three other databases: the Propel Multi-Site Database, produced in association with Virgate, the New Openings Database, and the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £445 plus VAT for operators and £545 plus VAT for suppliers. Email to upgrade your subscription. Subscribers also receive access to Propel’s library of lockdown videos and Friday Wrap interviews and now also have access to a curated video library of the sector’s finest leaders and entrepreneurs, offering their insights on running outstanding businesses in the sector. Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out; regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Propel group editor Mark Wingett.

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