The UK Federation of Small Businesses has welcomed energy efficiency support announced by the government’s Powering Up Britain Strategy.
Responding to the strategy announced by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, Martin McTague, national chair of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said: “The Powering Up Britain announcement is an important step towards the UK’s transition to net zero and greater energy security.
“Small firms have long waited for support to become more energy efficient, and have asked for more than just words and guidance, but resources to be put in place to help. We are pleased to see Energy Secretary Grant Shapps heed our calls and address the needs of small business in his plan.
“FSB has led a cross-industry campaign for a small business support scheme that matches practical information to reduce energy use, alongside funding for green improvements that small firms cannot afford. Our proposals were backed by a dozen leading business groups across the economy and adopted as one of Chris Skidmore’s 25 recommendations in his Net Zero Review. We are pleased to see it adopted today, in the form of the SME energy advice service alongside an audit and grant scheme – as a pilot.
“We are keen to help the Energy and Business and Trade Departments’ outreach to the community to make sure the pilot is a success, and to get it up and running as soon as possible – certainly in time before energy use rises next winter. We then hope to see it scaled up to a full national scheme that can help every small business wanting to invest in improvements to their business that will cut energy costs and support the move to Net Zero.
“This welcome news follows on from existing FSB recommendations already adopted by the UK Government to exempt small business investments in Net Zero improvements from affecting business rates bills – a perverse disincentive to do the right thing, and then to pay more in business taxes as a result, every year from then on.
“More than six in ten small firms have already invested in energy efficiency, but there is a clear desire to go further and do more. Powering up Britain can only work by powering small firms, whose needs are distinct from larger corporates or households. We applaud the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero for trialling small business-focused energy efficiency policies.”
“It’s also encouraging to see further investments on local electricity vehicle infrastructure – something FSB has been consistently calling for in the past few years.
“The commitment to looking at rebalancing prices between gas and electricity, the long-term exemption of green technologies from business rates and extension of Boiler Upgrade Scheme are all welcome moves, and more details are needed on how this will exactly benefit small firms.”