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Energy Costs: Fiscal Support

Volume 725: debated on Tuesday 20 December 2022

11. Whether his Department plans to take further fiscal steps to support (a) households, (b) local authorities, (c) charities and (d) businesses with energy costs. (902889)

Merry Christmas to you and your staff, Mr Speaker; as your fourth Chancellor of the year, I sincerely hope that I am here this time next year to wish you merry Christmas as well.

The Government are very conscious that these are tough times for businesses as well as families. That is why in the autumn statement I announced, among many other measures, a package of business rates support worth £13.6 billion over the next five years, including a 75% relief for retail, hospitality and leisure properties. That will help thousands of businesses in Scotland.

A very merry Christmas to you and yours, Mr Speaker, and a happy new year to boot.

My constituency of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath plays host to energy giants Shell and ExxonMobil; Seagreen and Berwick Bank wind farms, which supply 2.8 million homes in England with energy, are just off our coastline. In such a land of energy plenty, it is perverse that so many people live in poverty and that businesses struggle to survive. Kirkcaldy ice arena is the oldest rink in the United Kingdom and home to the Fife Flyers ice hockey team. It survived world war two, fire, the financial crash and covid, but in energy-rich Scotland it is struggling to pay its unavoidable energy costs. What targeted support is the Chancellor going to make available for energy-dependent companies such as the rink? Will he meet me to discuss how best to tackle the problem?

We have announced a package of support for businesses this winter worth nearly £20 billion; it will help businesses throughout the United Kingdom, including in Scotland. It includes special measures for energy-intensive industries. We will shortly announce plans that will take effect from next April.