Fears for south Warwickshire hospitality as energy support scaled back - The Leamington Observer

Fears for south Warwickshire hospitality as energy support scaled back

Leamington Editorial 11th Jan, 2023   0

THE SCALING back of energy bill support for businesses could not have come at a worse time for hospitality firms says South Warwickshire’s tourism chief.

Businesses are currently receiving a £18billion package of support from the six-month Energy Bill Relief Scheme, which caps the unit cost of gas and electricity for all businesses.

But this support finishes at the end of March, and will be replaced by a £5.5bn, 12-month Energy Bill Discount Scheme which will provide a discount on wholesale prices of gas and electric instead of capping the cost of gas and electricity.

Helen Peters, chief executive of Shakespeare’s England, the tourism board for South Warwickshire, shared her disappointment at the latest package of support.

She said: “The government’s current support with energy bills has been a lifeline for many smaller hospitality businesses in our region who have been trying their best to survive the quieter winter months, so to reduce this even further without giving these businesses the chance to get an uninterrupted period of spring and summer trading under their belts is frustrating.

“While hospitality businesses cannot rely on financial support from the state forever, the government should seriously reconsider phasing out its financial aid towards the autumn when, hopefully by that time, many pubs, restaurants, hotels and attractions will have had a strong summer of trading to fall back on.

“I would also like to see what steps the government is taking to ensure that the reductions in wholesale prices, now lower than they were pre the war in Ukraine, are being cascaded down to the price that businesses pay.

“When there is a rise in the wholesale price of energy, the rise is usually passed on to the customer, but this never seems to be the same in reverse. This needs to change – potentially with an energy price cap that is directly linked to the wholesale price.

“Despite the cost-of-living crisis, the year ahead is packed full of opportunity for firms in South Warwickshire – especially as we gear up to mark the King’s Coronation in May, as well as celebrating the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s first folio – both of which are expected to attract visitors from across the globe.

“The removal of a cap on energy pricing also creates added uncertainty of what businesses are going to be paying from one month to the next, which underlines why this spring and summer is going to be so crucial to the survival of small to medium sized firms.”


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