Businesses disappointed by chancellor’s ‘lack of focus on energy’

Businesses were left disappointed by the chancellor’s “lack of focus on energy” in his autumn budget statement last week, the chief executive of the Inenco Group has said.

They need “greater clarity” on the future of the UK’s energy policy to give them confidence to make long-term plans.

“Businesses were hopeful that the autumn statement would deliver more clarity, from the future of the Carbon Price Support, to the cost of supporting low carbon technology beyond 2020, and were left disappointed at the lack of focus on energy,” wrote Gary Stokes in an open letter to business and energy secretary Greg Clark.

Inenco has spent the last 18 months consulting with business energy professionals over the issues that concern them. “Again and again, we have been told by businesses that they need more certainty around future energy policy,” warned Stokes.  

“The transition towards a low carbon, smarter and more dynamic energy market offers great scope for the UK, but its cost will be borne by UK businesses far more than domestic users, from the cost of supporting new technology to responding to new regulation.”

He welcomed the final decision on Hinkley Point C and the confirmation of the fifth carbon budget but said there remains “a strong sentiment of confusion”.

“The recent decision to withdraw Demand Side Balancing Reserve scheme just months before winter risked undermining business confidence in demand response when their involvement in future years will be critical,” he added. “Procuring additional capacity for the new capacity market could preserve security of supply but will add hundreds of millions of pounds onto the cost of the scheme for businesses, at relatively short notice.”

He urged the business and energy secretary to put in place “a long-term vision for energy policy with a clear framework of delivery” ahead to the final spring budget in 2017, “rather than more changes that businesses must respond to and implement”.

You can read previous reaction to Philip Hammond’s autumn budget statement here