Shropshire Chamber of Commerce says the Government’s new energy support package will ‘fall short’ of what is required for many struggling businesses.
Ruth Ross, Shropshire Chamber’s deputy chief executive, said: “We know that many local businesses have been fighting for their survival for months, and rising energy costs have fast become the tipping point.
“While we welcome the 12-month duration of this latest support package, its value is nowhere near far enough and means that for some Shropshire firms, energy will now be a cost too far.”
Ruth said the Chamber network understood that the Government had to consider public finances, but insisted that any support package, short or long term, should be right for business.
“The wrong type of support simply dents business confidence, and will mean the Government having to revisit its package.”
She added: “This is not about giving a handout to failing firms. It is about investing in our businesses, many of whom are confident about the strength of their order-books despite being hammered by eye-watering energy costs.
“Shropshire’s economy will not be able to grow if our businesses are in decline.”
Shevaun Haviland, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Alongside an energy support package, we need an energy support strategy to get businesses on the right track to longer term efficiency.
“There are several options to consider, and we urge the Government to prioritise the following three:
- Increase OFGEM’s powers: Ensure effective competition in the business energy market for non-domestic contracts by extending OFGEM’s regulatory powers to guarantee businesses access competitive fixed rate contracts, and energy providers move swiftly to pass on wholesale price reductions.
- Energy production: Government to bring forward ambitious plans to enable more renewable and sustainable energy production across the UK.
- National energy saving campaign: Government should launch a national campaign with support initiatives for businesses to drive down current consumption through energy efficiency measures, such as green grants and tax incentives.
She added: “It is a critical year for the UK economy and with the right focussed support, businesses can help turn the economy around and get the UK back to growth and prosperity.”