The UK government has started to consult on the possibility of increasing the exemption for certain environmental and policy-imposed costs from the current 85 to 100 per cent, the Department explains. This would support around 300 businesses in the UK and help maintain a competitive business environment in the UK. The consultations are due to conclude on 16 September this year.
The Department says that electricity prices in the UK are higher than in other countries, including Europe, which threatens to affect investment, competitiveness and the economic viability of hundreds of businesses in the UK. BEIS says the UK government has already provided more than £2 bn in electricity price support to businesses in energy-intensive sectors since 2013.
The launch of the consultation follows the extension of the separate but similar Energy Intensive Industries Scheme, which offers companies relief from the costs of the UK Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and Carbon Price Support (CPS) mechanism in their electricity bills. Some companies in the UK paper industry are already benefiting from this and additional help to contain costs is welcome. However, representatives of the paper industry in the UK point out that even with an increase in the scheme, the aid from the government is far from sufficient to compensate for the sharp rise in electricity costs.