Government action to supercharge competitiveness in key British industries and grow economy

Government action to supercharge competitiveness in key British industries and grow economy

300 businesses across the UK will benefit from the British Industry Supercharger: targeted measures to ensure the energy costs for key UK industries are in line with other major economies around the world.

The support will be made available to sectors particularly exposed to the cost of electricity, such as steel, metals, chemicals and paper. These industries employ around 400,000 skilled workers right across the UK, and support many more in their supply chains. In 2019 their exports made up around 28% of total UK exports.

Proposed changes under the Supercharger – set to be consulted on in the Spring – will exempt firms from the certain costs arising from renewable energy obligations such as the Feed in Tariff, Contracts for Difference and the Renewables Obligation, as well as GB Capacity Market costs, whilst exploring reductions on network charges, which are the costs industrial users pay for their supply of electricity.

The measures announced by the Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch today (Thursday 23 February) will bring the energy costs of the UK’s energy intensive industries in line with those charged across the world’s major economies. This is crucial to helping these businesses remain internationally competitive, and will enhance the UK’s attractiveness as a destination for international investment as well as remove barriers to move us further towards greener technology as part of a sustainable net zero future.

Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said: “This is carefully crafted support that will mean strategically-important UK industries like steel and chemicals remain competitive on the world stage.”

“We will back these businesses to keep on growing our economy and delivering high-quality jobs and investment into the UK, as well as the products we rely on for our everyday lives and work.”

Energy Security Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Putin’s weaponization of energy has shown how secure and affordable energy is vital to all parts of our economy – especially key sectors like steel and chemicals.”

Today’s measures will help deliver the affordable, reliable energy that these industries need to become greener, and secure jobs for the future.

The delivery mechanisms and timelines for implementation of the British Industry Supercharger will be consulted on in the Spring, with an expectation that they’ll be rolled out from Spring 2024 onwards.

It builds on the Energy Security Strategy, published last year, which committed government to taking action to address the UK’s industrial electricity prices, which are higher than those of other comparable countries.

Backing these companies is critically important to the wider economy, as many of them provide products that other businesses cannot easily substitute, and which their supply chains depend upon.

It will also form a key part of the government’s wider plans to seize on the potential of new green industries like electric vehicle and battery manufacturing, where the UK is already a pioneer. These businesses have high energy requirements, and this support will mean the UK is well-placed to seize on the potential for these industries to grow.

Gareth Stace, Director General of UK Steel, said: “UK industrial electricity prices have been uncompetitive for many years, and today, the government took a great step towards levelling the playing field for the steel industry. We welcome this announcement and look forward to working with government to ensure full price parity with European competitors. It is essential we can compete on an equal footing, in the short term, within the fiercely competitive steel market, both in Europe and globally.”

Dave Dalton, the chair of the Energy Intensive Users Group, said: “We welcome today’s announcement with the measures to reduce electricity prices for energy intensive industries. These measures will bring our industrial electricity prices more in line with those in other countries and help the competitiveness and decarbonisation of energy intensive industries in the UK.”

The government recognises that businesses of all kinds are feeling the impact of high global energy prices, which is why we announced the Energy Bill Relief Scheme to bring down costs, and will continue support from 1 April 2023 until 31 March 2024 through the Energy Bills Discount Scheme (EBDS).



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