Farmers’ leader on energy support package

NFU president Minette Batters
NFU president Minette Batters

New Prime Minister Liz Truss set our her energy support package for households and businesses last week.

Responding to the announcement, NFU president Minette Batters said: “It’s a relief to hear that the Government will be providing support for businesses with a cap on energy bills for the next six months. We now urgently need clarity about what these measures will look like. It’s also good to hear plans to accelerate the production of renewables in the UK which British farmers are well placed to help deliver with government support.
“Like many sectors, the British farming sector is facing crippling costs. Some fruit and vegetable growers have been hit by 300 per cent increases in energy costs, and horticulture businesses aren’t the only ones impacted. Across all sectors, there are many farmers who simply can’t afford to keep producing the same volume of food.
“Energy is crucial to the whole food producing process, from fertiliser production and heating greenhouses to baking bread, and so the cost of producing food and the cost of energy are closely linked.
“As we head into the autumn and winter, protecting our food security must be a priority for the Prime Minister. Our farmers are doing all they can to continue producing high quality, affordable food, but we need confidence that this new Government is backing British food and farming and, crucially, reflecting that in its policy making. This is essential now and beyond the initial six-month scheme and will require the farming industry and the Government to work together to develop targeted support across all farming sectors.
“As it stands, the energy marketplace is volatile and far from transparent. We urge the new energy supply taskforce to develop a plan which supports a functioning domestic energy market – one which provides stability for British farm businesses, rewards those producing renewable energy, and enables the continued production of sustainable and affordable British food for the country.”

Support for businesses
As outlined by Liz Truss in her speech, support for businesses will include:
There will be a new six-month scheme which will provide equivalent support to that being offered to consumers.
After that six-month period, ministers plan to offer ‘focused support’ to vulnerable industries.
The Business Secretary will work with businesses to review where this should be targeted, to make sure the most in need get supported. The review will be concluded within three months.

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