Spring Budget 2023 – is this the end of business energy support?
27th March 2023

Credit where credit’s due – the Spring Budget delivered a fair amount of welcome news for lots of people. Standing in notable contrast to the chaotic ‘Trussonomics’ of last September’s mini-budget, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Spring Budget promised increased childcare support and upfront childcare payments. And to widespread relief, it also pledges that support for household energy bills will continue for now at least, helping the UK sidestep the worst effects of a recession. 

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However, it’s not a panacea by any stretch of the imagination. Inflation is easing, true, but with the way things are at the moment, that simply means prices are rising less swiftly. And businesses without access to commercial solar panels will have plenty to think about too; this year’s Spring Budget has given no indication that business energy support will continue on the same scale as it will on domestic, prompting worries from some owners on their prospects of long-term survival.

Why are so many concerned about scaling back energy support?

Quite simply, a huge number of business owners, big and small, are concerned that the Spring Budget does not give them the support they need to stay viable, and the government is failing to recognise the immediate concerns over rising energy bills. Specifically, the Chancellor has been very clear about an energy price guarantee for households, but so far he hasn’t mentioned one for businesses.

That’s particularly worrying when lots of companies are in such dire situations already – many hospitality bosses, for example, have already stopped paying their own wages to keep their businesses afloat. Sacha Lord, the night time economy adviser for Greater Manchester, pointed out that the government’s phasing out of this business energy support will likely add an approximate £4.5 billion to the nation’s commercial energy bills, which is going to put small businesses in particular under unrivalled pressure.

Is there any further business energy support on the horizon?

It’s obviously difficult to say for certain without being privy to the inner workings of government, but as far as anyone can tell, unfortunately the answer to that question currently seems to be no.

It’s worth saying that the Chancellor did not specifically rule it out in his speech to the Commons on Wednesday. In fact, he didn’t mention them at all – and that in itself is giving countless business owners reason to think that any further support is likely not forthcoming, at least for the foreseeable future.

The Treasury did say in an accompanying document that businesses will be able to benefit from a discount on their bills. However, business leaders are saying that measure along is not nearly enough to keep their members out of financial difficulty in April, when the current raft of support ends.

The general feeling was perhaps summed up best by Kate Nicholls, the boss of UKHospitality, wo said: “It remains the case that we need to see urgent action on the market failures identified by Ofgem in its non-domestic review update yesterday. The current timeline of further action by the summer is not good enough.”

As to whether the government has more measures in its back pocket, or any still being finalised in conference rooms – well, that remains to be seen. Whatever happens though, you can always count on us here at Low Carbon Energy to remain focused on our core mission; helping you achieve greater energy security (and peace of mind) with commercial solar panels.

Increased energy security is one of the key advantages of commercial solar panels, as it can help your business to reduce your reliance on the National Grid, which can in turn help to insulate you from the more dramatic shocks in the market. (Especially the unprecedented peaks and troughs of recent years!)

Our experts have over 30 years of combined experience, having helped SMEs and large corporations across a wide variety of sectors transform their business’ energy supply.

Each of our installations is bespoke, and we tailor your solution on your specific energy profile, helping us to maximise carbon reductions and save you up to thousands of pounds in energy bills. Feel free to look at our case studies for just a few examples of businesses which have transformed themselves with solar, such as Boeing and Irish Water. To find out how we can help you, feel free to give us a call today on 01282 421 489!

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