Thank you for writing to me about pubs.
Pubs up and down the country play a vital role not only in the economy but in our local areas, supporting a sense of community and pride. After nearly two years of difficulties as a result of the pandemic, pubs have returned to business as usual.
You will be reassured to know that through the new Energy Bill Relief Scheme, the Government will provide a discount on wholesale gas and electricity prices for all non-domestic customers whose current gas and electricity prices have been significantly inflated in light of global energy prices. This will include all UK businesses and will be equivalent to the Energy Price Guarantee put in place for households.
This will see the Government set a Supported Wholesale Price which is a discounted price per unit of gas and electricity. This price is expected to be £211 per MWh for electricity and £75 per MWh for gas, less than half the wholesale prices anticipated this winter.
It will apply to fixed contracts agreed on or after 1 April 2022, as well as to deemed, variable and flexible tariffs and contracts. It will be applied until 31 March 2023, running for an initial six-month period for all non-domestic energy users. The savings will be first seen in October bills, which are typically received in November.
The Government will publish a review into the operation of the scheme in three months to inform decisions on future support after March 2023. The review will focus in particular on identifying the most vulnerable non-domestic customers and how the Government will continue assisting them with energy costs. In April, there will be a Treasury-led review into how customers should be supported with their energy bills in the future. The review’s objective is to design a new approach that will cost the taxpayer significantly less than planned while ensuring enough support for those in need, and that the new approach will better incentivise energy efficiency.
The Government is committed to supporting our pubs. Its long-term strategy for the hospitality sector includes an extension to pavement licences, making it easier and cheaper for pubs, restaurants and cafes to make outdoor dining a reality with seating, tables and street stalls to serve food and drinks. This will be implemented through the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.
Additional funding also aims to support community groups to protect and take over local assets, like pubs, which are at risk without community intervention. The £150 million Community Ownership Fund allows community groups to buy assets so that they can continue to serve their local area. I am aware that rural pubs were among the local assets allocated funding in the scheme's first round, giving them a new lease of life for generations to come.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP