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The government has announced a new support strategy to help nightlife businesses through the UK energy crisis.
The Energy Bill Relief Scheme will introduce a price for businesses on non-domestic energy contracts.
Those eligible will have to be on an “existing fixed price contract” that started after April 1 2022. Those starting new fixed-price contracts, variable tariffs, flexible purchases or similar contracts will only be given support for usage between 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023.
Nightlife industry bodies The Music Venue Trust (MVT) and the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) have welcomed the announcement, but have urged the government to provide “full clarification” of support for the sector.
Due to the cost of living crisis the nightlife industry has been threatened and forced to close nearly a quarter of nightlife businesses in just months with three in four UK nightlife businesses claiming they are on a “financial cliff edge” according to a poll done by the NTIA earlier this week.
NTIA CEO, Michael Kill “welcomes” the “long-awaited” plan yet notes his concerns explaining that: “this measure to cap the wholesale price to energy supply companies may not result in sufficient relief being extended to business customers, given that energy suppliers remain free to impose additional mark-ups such as network charges and operating costs, which are uncapped.”
He concludes his statement which is available to read in full here by stating: “We will now have to wait for the announcement on Friday (September 23) from the Chancellor on further support, however, we must note that the measures being discussed to date such as corporation tax relief will simply not be sufficient, given only one in four hospitality businesses would currently benefit from such measures, as three out of four are not trading profitably.”
Mark Davyd, MVT CEO, also “warmly welcomes” the government’s scheme which he believes “at face value to comprehensively tackle the immediate short term energy crisis for Grassroots Music Venues.”
Davyd adds to the statement: “We await full details of the scheme and the method of implementation by the energy retailers and suppliers, but the base unit rate of 21.1p per kW/h laid out by these plans is sufficient to avert the collapse of the sector if it is fully delivered.”
He continued: “We understand that the government plans to bring forward controls to ensure that this target price is delivered and we look forward to reading their plans to implement this rate as a maximum for all music venues in the UK.
Written by: Tim Hopkins