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Fixed-term Energy Contracts: Hospitality Industry

Volume 733: debated on Tuesday 23 May 2023

5. What discussions he has had with Ofgem on the potential impact of fixed-term energy contracts on the hospitality industry. (905073)

I have had several discussions with the Ofgem CEO and suppliers on businesses and hospitality businesses on high fixed contracts. I am sympathetic to those businesses, but it is a commercial matter.

The Royal Oak in Isleworth is a popular family-run pub. Last autumn it had to sign a fixed-term contract at the highest rates. When I raised this issue in March, just before the end of the energy support scheme, the Minister told me that the Government had met energy suppliers, as the Minister has just confirmed. What else are the Government doing to make sure that no more pubs or other successful and thriving small businesses go under because of crippling energy costs?

This Government have been incredibly helpful to all businesses, particularly the hospitality sector. As I mentioned, I am sympathetic to those businesses, but this is a commercial matter. Let me reassure the hon. Lady that I have met stakeholders and suppliers. Today I have written to them again to reiterate that they must be mindful of fixed-term contracts.

No hotel, pub or guesthouse can do its job without the support of the laundry sector, which is feeling the pain of high energy bills, often fixed at the wrong time. I hear what the Minister says about the commercial element, but will she arrange a meeting with the energy efficiency unit and the laundry sector to see what can be done to reduce demand and get better deals from energy suppliers?

I thank my hon. Friend for that question. Of course, I am always delighted to organise those meetings.