The Craft Bakers Association (CBA) has said it is disappointed the government’s autumn financial statement gave little clarity on further energy support for businesses.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt yesterday announced that business rates would be frozen for another year but gave no detail on energy support that would be given to businesses after March next year.
The statement will have done little to ease the ongoing concerns of a baking industry that has already seen businesses collapse because of soaring input costs. A recent Craft Bakers Association poll found the rising cost of energy and other utilities was the biggest concern of two-thirds of its members.
Reacting to yesterday’s statement, CBA operations director Karen Dear said the association welcomed government plans to freeze business rates for an additional year.
“Despite this, the CBA is disappointed by the lack of clarity regarding further support for businesses in terms of the energy crisis and an extension to the energy cap,” she added.
“Many of our members will still be facing a significant rise in energy bills in the coming year and have been left with justified concerns following the lack of additional support provided by the government at this moment.”
The CBA said it would continue to liaise with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to ensure its members’ concerns are heard and accounted for.
“We hope that long-term support can be provided to ensure their businesses can continue to operate,” added Dear.
Trade group Scottish Bakers said its members remained concerned about high energy prices following the statement, and that it would like to see more focused support for businesses to get through the winter.
“Crucially, so far as we are aware, there is nothing in the pipeline for support beyond the end of March,” added Scottish Bakers CEO Alasdair Smith.
The Federation of Small Businesses welcomed the energy support package remaining in place until April.
“However,” said FSB national chair Martin McTague: “Going forward, continued support should not be viewed through the narrow lens of specific sectors, but rather based upon the size of a business.”