Energy Bills Discount Scheme ends, small businesses face uncertainty

The Energy Bills Discount Scheme, designed to alleviate financial stress on businesses during the energy crisis, concludes without a replacement, leaving small businesses grappling with increased costs

On 31st March, the Energy Bills Discount Scheme will conclude, impacting small businesses across the UK.

Established to ease financial strain from rising energy costs, its closure leaves many SMEs uncertain about future expenses.

Research by Simply Business found a quarter of SMEs experienced significant energy cost increases, compounding economic challenges.

The lack of a replacement scheme in the recent Spring Budget adds to SMEs’ concerns, with fears of financial struggles amid mounting energy expenses.

Bea Montoya, COO of Simply Business, said: “With the Energy Bills Discount Scheme coming to an end, the financial strain on small businesses is only set to increase.

“Our research found that almost half (46%) of SME owners with more than ten employees shared that the energy crisis has impacted their supply chain, while 36% have had to reduce their services or opening hours to combat the higher cost of doing business.

“And with reduced government support – set against the backdrop of a recession – we must do all we can to support small business owners.

“Unprecedented high energy prices are one of the biggest challenges facing small businesses, with over a quarter of SMEs spending 40% more on energy each month compared to the last year.

“Small businesses are calling for the government to extend the Energy Bills Discount Scheme – without this, quite frankly, many small businesses will struggle to survive.”

Daniele Paduano, owner of Kotch! Pizza Stratford, said: “Regarding the bills, I have been through a situation where an energy provider owed me £1,800 after closing the account and I did realise only when, after many months, I accessed my online account, and nobody (of course) took the trouble to get in touch with me to issue a refund. I had to chase it.

“To avoid being in credit with the energy company, especially during these difficult times when every penny counts to pay employees and support them and our families, I deactivate the direct debit and activate it when the credit runs out. That can quickly be done.”

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