Whilst welcoming the additional support, the new scheme means support for UK businesses falls behind that offered by other European countries (Germany, France and Italy) and at a significant competitive disadvantage opposite the US which already has lower power prices, don’t face a carbon price challenge and polices providing a more supportive investment environment.

Under the new scheme, even the energy and trade intensive businesses could receive less than half the discount compared to the current (EBRS) scheme as we continue to face turbulent energy markets. Looking ahead we still need Government to take action on its commitments made as part of the Energy Security Strategy including addressing long standing energy policy costs which continue to be one of the highest across Europe.

Steve Elliott, Chief Executive of the Chemical Industries Association said “We welcome Government’s recognition of the challenges faced in particular by an energy and trade-intensive sector such as chemicals, as well as the tangible support measures to be introduced from April.  It’s good to see that the Prime Minister’s November ’22 public commitment to supporting such businesses has been acted on.

At the same time, we also recognise the huge challenge in reducing U.K. public expenditure, so it’s no surprise that the level of relief from April ’23 to ’24 is lower than what is currently in place. 

However, whilst a warmer winter and a fall in economic demand might have seen a softening in Immediate energy prices compared to the highs of 2022, businesses are still facing energy prices that are four or five times higher than they were in early 2021, they see their German and French competitors receiving more generous relief and the post-March support arrangements leave many questions in terms of eligibility and administration”.

Steve concluded, “we look forward therefore to working with Government and energy suppliers over the coming weeks to deliver an efficient and effective Energy Bill Discount Scheme. Beyond that, we would also urge ongoing scrutiny of U.K. energy costs, so that more supportive measures might be rapidly implemented should we face further political, economic or meteorological pressures on energy security and cost during 2023.”




For more information or to interview Steve Elliott, please get in touch - Simon Marsh at MarshsS@cia.org.uk or 07951 389197.

  • Businesses who make chemical products and solutions are integral to something like 96% of all manufactured goods.  Whether it is ingredients for food and medicines; paints and coatings for cars and planes or materials for mobile phones and electric vehicle batteries, the chemical industry is truly the “industry of industries” – also playing a critical role in the nation’s response to Covid-19 through its supply of hand sanitiser, PPE and vaccine ingredients.

  • Chemical businesses are located throughout the UK, with many of them clustered together in the North East of England, North West of England and Central Scotland.  These factories and laboratories, operated by a highly trained and skilled workforce, make a significant contribution towards the UK’s productivity performance – double that of any other manufacturing industry and triple that of any part of the UK economy.

  • Nearly half a million people are employed in the sector or have roles that are dependent on the sector. Chemical workers typically earn 35% more than other manufacturing industries and 54% more than the average worker.

  • From Runcorn to the Humber Bank; from Teesside to Grangemouth, chemical businesses and their employees right across the country are essential to the Government’s levelling-up agenda. 

  • We are one of the country’s biggest manufacturing exporters, sending goods to the value of more than £57 billion to other countries. The EU represents our most important market, but we continue to work closely with Government to inform and secure UK trade deals with other key chemical markets such as Japan and the USA.