Government provides little help to businesses facing high energy costs

    Boris Johnson has pledged to “do more” to help people with the rising cost of living after Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng admitted the government’s energy security strategy is “more of a medium three, four, five year answer”.

    Speaking to broadcasters from Hinkley Point C, the prime minister said his government is “already doing a huge amount” to ease the burden of rising household bills, but said the energy plan is about “tackling some of the mistakes of the past”.

    However responding to the announcement, Alex Hall-Chen, Senior Policy Advisor at the Institute of Directors, said: “Business needs a sustained commitment from this and subsequent governments to make the objectives defined in this strategy a reality.

    “Business leaders want two things from a national energy security policy. Firstly, they want price stability so that they can plan. Recently we’ve seen how disruptive instability can be. In our most recent poll, 53% reported the cost of energy having a negative impact on their business, up from only 17% this time last year. To this end we welcome the Energy Security Strategy’s commitment to greater independence from international markets. However, more detail is required on how business and government can work together to achieve this objective. We are also concerned that the measures announced will do little to help businesses facing high energy costs in the immediate future.

    “Secondly, business leaders want confidence that government policy is sufficient to meet our country’s net zero goals. The economic case for accelerated government commitment to, and investment in, sustainable energy production and energy efficiency has never been stronger. Today’s commitment to low carbon energy production is therefore welcome, but greater ambition and leadership is needed to rapidly increase renewable energy production.

    “It is also important that small and medium sized businesses are given greater incentives and support from government to help them invest in measures to become more energy resilient and energy efficient which, to date, has been a gap in the government’s climate change strategy.”

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