We recognise the impact that rising energy prices will have on businesses of all sizes. To understand the challenges that they face and explore ways to protect consumers and businesses, Ofgem and the Government are in regular contact with business groups and suppliers.
Given that the Federation of Small Businesses has said that small business confidence in the north-east is now at minus 64%, can the Minister say what consideration he is giving to the measures put forward by the FSB to support small businesses in the energy crisis, including scrapping the planned national insurance contributions increase and extending the household rebate to be matched by an equivalent business rate rebate?
I met representatives of the FSB and other organisations yesterday, when we touched upon energy for businesses. We will always listen to those representative organisations. Clearly we want to ensure that the £408 billion of support in the last two years to protect businesses, livelihoods and jobs will help us to shape the recovery, with ongoing support from this Government—the Government for business.