British businesses have been warned by government officials that they will have to wait longer than households for financial support with their energy bills amid delays to the start of the £150bn scheme, according to reports.
Company bosses are increasingly worried about the prospect of delays in the arrival of support as fixed power contracts expire in October for hundreds of thousands of businesses.
Business leaders have been told by government officials in recent meetings that the support program for companies may not be ready until November, the Financial Times reported, although it cited officials as hoping the package could still be activated next month.
Companies in many sectors of the economy have been warning for weeks that they may not survive the winter as a result of rising energy bills.
Businesses have broadly welcomed the six-month support program announced last week by the new prime minister, Liz Truss, but are still awaiting details on how it will work.
The support offered to households will freeze their energy bills by an average of £2,500 a year for the next two years from October 1, replacing Ofgem’s existing energy price cap.
However, the separate regime described as offering ‘equivalent support’ to businesses has proved more complicated because they are not covered by the energy price cap. Ministers and officials are reportedly struggling to find a mechanism to set a cap on business energy costs.
An emergency budget to set out more details of energy support and a winter tax cut for millions of people is expected by the government late next week, when the country emerges from national mourning following the Queen’s death.
Trass is under pressure from her own party to present her economic plans as soon as possible.
No 10 has previously said no legislation would be needed to introduce the household energy support package as it would include guarantees between the government and private energy suppliers.
However, it is believed that some legislation may be needed to establish business support.