UK Government Support Announcement
09 September 2022
UK Government Support Announcement
Yesterday the new PM Liz Truss announced a long-awaited package of measures of support for rising energy prices. While the Hospitality sector was specifically mentioned in her speech to Parliament, details of the package remain scarce. Hospitality Ulster is working with our sister organisations UKH end BBPA to engage UK Ministers and officials to understand the extent of the support and exactly how help will be delivered.
Whilst there was also a commitment that support from the UK Government would also be available in Northern Ireland, there is no detail of how or when that will happen.
The headlines of the announcement were as follows:
- A new ‘Energy Price Guarantee’ that will fix a maximum price for domestic consumers for two years. This will be in addition to the £400 off bills that was previously planned
- Businesses (and public sector bodies) will see equivalent support for six months, after which there will be a specific package of measures for ‘vulnerable’ sectors. – The Hospitality sector was explicitly identified in Ms Truss’ speech, revealing that a targeted package of measures would be announced in the next three months.
- New measures to boost domestic energy supply – including the removal of the moratorium on fracking and an increase in oil exploration
- A new ‘Energy Markets Financing Scheme’ has been created with the Bank of England to manage volatility in prices and ensure liquidity to energy suppliers – which should result in a more stable environment for businesses in due course.
HU has welcomed the unprecedented step of freezing energy prices, and the recognition from the new PM that hospitality needs additional support. This reflects on the joint work that HU and our sister organisations UKH and BBPA have done in recent weeks to make the case to government that help is urgently needed to support our sector.
However, we have reiterated to Ministers, that more needs to be done now for businesses. Our sector will still be facing very high energy bill increases as well as other soaring input costs, at the same a time that our customers and employees may have limited spending power as they continue to be stretched.
We will be fully engaging with the Government’s work that recommends new measures from next April, while pushing for the early adoption of a reduced rate of VAT and rates relief to see us through the winter. Our letter to the Chancellor, signed by over 300 from across the UK and submitted yesterday, clearly sets outs what our sector needs.
We continue to meet with Northern Irelands Ministers to emphasise that any support coming from the UK Government must be swiftly delivered to businesses within our hospitality industry. Whilst making the case that Northern Ireland government must also provide additional support to protect businesses and reduce the rates burden.
We appreciate that the measures announced yesterday are not enough to cover the rising costs that you will all be facing, but we do believe they are a significant step forward for Government. Although we are encouraged that UK Government recognise the need to do more for our sector, we will be pushing them to move faster. We are expecting an additional fiscal event this month and that will be an opportunity for us to push Government for more assistance. However, this may be delayed due to the death of The Queen.
HU will continue to keep members up to date with progress in getting our united hospitality voice heard, as well as any further announcements and support that is made available for our sector.