BIRA calls new energy support scheme a 'death slide' for independent retailers

BIRA calls new energy support scheme a ‘death slide’ for independent retailers

The British Independent Retailers Association has said the government’s new Energy Bills Relief Scheme (EBRS) which is replacing the Energy Bills Discount Scheme (EBDS) a ‘death slide’ for indi retailers.

The government’s new scheme was released yesterday (January 9) and they have stated that the current offering is unaffordable.

However they did accept that some price support would be needed after March, which is when the EBDS, which has wholesale gas and electricity prices are currently fixed until.

The new EBRS scheme is designed to offer discounts to eligible businesses, based on usage, with some high energy usage industries will receive more support.

However BIRA, which works with over 6,000 independent businesses of all sizes across the UK, has highlighted that based on the government’s own calculations, the current scheme provides a typical small retail shop with £6,400 of financial support with energy bills. Under the new discount scheme, this support falls to £400 for the same small shop.

BIRA CEO Andrew Goodacre said: “The Chancellor said he wanted to avoid a cliff edge in terms of energy support. But it looks as if he has replaced the cliff edge with a ‘death slide’.

“Last year we saw energy bills for indie retailers increasing by 500% £15,000 – £20,000 more than usual. These businesses will now have another £6,000 pe annum of costs to deal with, at a time when consumer spending has fallen and other costs are set to increase.

“The burden on small retailers is set to increase significantly again. Treasury will refer to the extra retail discount in business rates, but this was needed to offset the average 10% increase in rateable values following the recent revaluation.

“BIRA believe that more need to be done to support high street shops with rising energy bills, and we would like to have seen higher discounts offered to those businesses that have reduced energy compared to last year. Not only would this reward and encourage businesses to reduce costs, it would also be a more environmentally friendly solution,” he said.


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