“It’s hugely welcome to see some tangible support for Scotland’s small firms, who have been enduring the most acute cost of doing business crisis for many months. It cannot come a moment too soon.
“For those who were facing four or fivefold increases in their bills, a reduction on the cost per unit will provide some welcome relief and allow them to plan their way through surviving the winter.
“At the same time, we’re concerned that there is no mention of a cap on rises to standing charges. We’ll need to watch that closely so today’s move leads to a genuine, significant reduction in bills.
“The promise of equivalent support for those using heating oil is also welcome, as it is relied on by many small businesses, especially in more rural areas.
“Yet, there are questions about what happens when the six months run out. We can’t have businesses simply falling over a cliff in the spring if this relief is withdrawn.
“Neither can we have businesses who had no choice but to sign up to expensive deals before April left out in the cold. That’s why we are calling for a hardship fund to be created for those who fall outside of the current support, or for whom the current support will be insufficient.
“The ball is now in the energy providers’ court. We expect them to pass on the benefit of this package in full and, as a matter of urgency, provide updated bills and quotes to each small business customer.”
- Read the announcement from the Department for Business, Innovation, Energy and Skills here