UK utilities sector lost £400m of business investments in the Covid-19-hit first quarter of the year

A backdrop of concern about the ability of customers to pay their bills may have led to the shrinking trend, according to a report

The Big Zero report

The UK utilities sector lost £400m of business investments in the Covid-19-hit first quarter of the year.

That’s one of the findings of an analysis by the specialist tax relief consultancy Catax, which suggests business investment in the utilities sector dropped 9% in a year as coronavirus hit the economy.

Based on data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the report says total business investment in the sector fell to £3.9 billion in the first quarter of 2020, down from £4.3 billion for the same period in 2019.

However, there is a glimpse of hope as overall business investment across UK industry rose 0.8% compared with the first quarter of 2019.

Mark Tighe, CEO of Catax, commented: “Business investment has tumbled against a backdrop of concern over the ability of customers to pay their bills and future rises in bad debts.

“In addition, the energy regulator Ofgem is expected to reduce the price cap on tariffs in the coming months as it tries to help consumers, making the industry an even less appealing prospect.”

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