UK Announces Energy Price Bailouts for Businesses This Winter

LONDON (AP) – The UK government said on Wednesday it will cap wholesale energy bills for businesses this winter to ensure businesses don’t go bust as energy prices soar.

Authorities said the government will cover nearly half of all business energy bills for six months from October 1 to ensure businesses “are in position to weather this winter”.

“We will review it after six months. We will ensure that the most vulnerable businesses, such as pubs and shops, continue to receive support afterwards,” said Prime Minister Liz Truss, who is in New York to attend the UN General Assembly.

Chief Financial Officer Kwasi Kwarteng said the government’s measures would “stop corporate collapse, protect jobs and limit inflation”.

Officials have not given details of how much the support package will cost, but it is expected to total billions of pounds (dollars).

The news followed similar measures announced earlier this month to cap domestic energy prices to help millions of people heat their homes amid a cost-of-living crisis.

Soaring gas and electricity bills combined with soaring food costs have pushed UK inflation to its highest level in decades. The Bank of England expects the economy to slip into recession next year.

The consumer price index reached 10.1% in July but fell slightly to 9.9% in August. The British have been used to an average inflation rate of around 2% for years.

The Government, which predicted the measures would bring down the UK’s soaring inflation rate, is expected to push through emergency legislation for the relief plans once Parliament returns in October.

The British Beer and Pub Association said Wednesday’s announcement of the move would provide a “lifeline” for many businesses.

“This intervention is unprecedented and it is extremely welcome that the Government has listened to the hospitality industry facing an uncertain winter,” said Kate Nicholls, chief executive of trade association UK Hospitality.

Truss on September 8 announced a two-year “energy price guarantee” for consumers, capping average household heating and electricity bills at £2,500 ($2,872) a year. The household average should increase to £3,500 ($4,000) a year from October, an 80% jump from the current annual average of £1,971 ($2,236). UK Announces Energy Price Bailouts for Businesses This Winter

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