After years of expressing concern that domestic manufacturers were being unfairly disadvantaged in comparison to competing European manufacturers, ministers have decided to lower energy rates for domestic manufacturers.
The main goal of the “British Industry Supercharger” scheme is to improve conditions for 300 companies employing 400,000 people in the steel, chemical, metal, and paper industries.
The proposed plan would ensure a steady supply of energy to companies by offering exemptions from certain costs that would arise from renewable energy obligations.
The lawmakers are also aiming to reduce network charges, which are the costs that are paid by the industries for supplying energy to them. These proposals would be reviewed in the spring.
These proposals are welcomed by all industries, which have long awaited such a change to compete with their European competitors.
The British steel industry is facing a huge challenge due to high energy prices, as it is in the process of finding funds to invest heavily in lower-carbon technologies. The pressure, unfortunately, resulted in the loss of 260 jobs, as the coking oven was closed at Scunthorpe Steel Works.
In 2021, the competitors managed to flood the British market with relatively cheaper steel made at lower costs compared to the domestic steel manufacturers.
Director general of UK Steel, Gareth Stace, stated: “UK industrial electricity prices have been uncompetitive for many years, and today, the government took a great step towards levelling the playing field for the steel industry.
“We welcome this announcement and look forward to working with government to ensure full price parity with European competitors. It is essential we can compete on an equal footing, in the short term, within the fiercely competitive steel market, both in Europe and globally.”
The chair of the Energy Intensive Users Group, Dave Dalton, stated: “These measures will bring our industrial electricity prices more in line with those in other countries and help the competitiveness and decarbonisation of energy intensive industries in the UK”.
“Today’s measures will help deliver the affordable, reliable energy that these industries need to become greener, and secure jobs for the future,” as conveyed by Energy Security Secretary Grant Shapps.
Although the government plans to dole out £5.5 billion in “transitional support” for businesses in the next 12 months starting from April 1, 2023, to offer support to cut down on their energy bills, it has faced stiff criticism that the assistance offered is not enough.
- Published By Team Timeswire