Businesses across the country have urged MPs to cancel a parliament recess that has been called following the death of the Queen. As a result of this delay, hospitality and manufacturing businesses fear that the Government will not pass legislation to protect them from energy costs until the second half of October. Over the past year, energy bills have reached eye-watering levels, for both households and businesses.
Firms have warned that this delay in passing the energy bill assistance measures could lead to many companies going bust after being unable to cope with the price increase in October.
The new Prime Minister Liz Truss has pledged to support businesses deal with energy costs, with measure promises to be “equivalent” to her plan to freeze household energy bills at £2,500.
However, such measures require fresh legislation to be brought in as there is no existing system comparable to Ofgem’s price cap, which means they have to go through the parliament, unlike the Government’s plan to help households.
While Britons face the biggest cost of living crisis in decades, the MPs are poised to spend very little time in Parliament over the next month.
However, following the death of the Queen, parliamentary business has been suspended until the funeral on Tuesday, following which the House will once again be in recess from Thursday as parties hold their conferences.
As a result, MPs will not be back in Parliament until the second half of October, which means that businesses are likely to only see any energy supports come into effect after November.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of industry group UK Hospitality urged the Government to cancel the conference recess and call MPs back into work.
She said: “This [delay] is because energy plans require legislation – unlike domestic support – and with Parliament going back into recess next week there may be insufficient time to pass it before price hikes take effect from 1 October.”
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While the Government stated that the legislation would be delivered in a “timely manner”, business chiefs have reportedly been warned in recent meetings that such support won’t be available until November,
One government official told the Financial Times, “It is not worked through yet. I don’t know whether it will come in before November. There’s some debate about whether it can be brought forward and happen before then.”
Campaigner Gina Miller tweeted: “With the crisis facing people, Conference Recess from 22 Sept for 3 weeks after a long Summer Recess and in effect no government is shameful.
“The energy package needs details and legislation. A one-day recall isn’t enough. The conference should be cancelled.”
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Former government advisor Sam Freedman added: “During the 86 days between 22nd July and 16th October Parliament will have been sitting for normal business for five of them. Not ideal in the circumstances”
The already record-high energy bills are proving to be a nightmare for many pubs and takeaways, which have been forced to close down after being unable to cope with costs.
So far, the Liberal Democrats have cancelled their party conference, as they would have clashed with the Queen’s funeral.
Labour and the Conservatives are expected to still hold their conferences, even if the annual events are likely to be more low key this year.
A Government spokesperson said: “We will confirm further details of the business support scheme next week. The scheme will support businesses with their October energy bills, including through backdating if necessary.”