THE Government has announced plans to introduce a cap on wholesale energy bills for businesses.

The Energy Bill Relief Scheme will mean wholesale energy prices for all firms are capped on October 1. 

It will apply to all non-domestic energy customers in Scotland, England and Wales whilst a parralel scheme will run in Northern Ireland. 

The further intervention in the energy market comes after the Government announced a £150bn plan to help households with bills over the next two years. 

Liz Truss also said that the average household would pay no more than £2500 for their energy bill. 

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Officials are yet to put a price tag of the latest subsidy to firms as the overall cost is dependent on what happens to the wholesale market price between October and April. 

Hospitals, schools and other settings including community centres and churches will also receive support. 

The scheme was originally only meant to run for six months but the Prime Minister has said that shops and pubs will receive help beyond the initial scope of the scheme. 

Truss said: “We know that businesses are very concerned about the level of their energy bills. 

“That’s why we are putting in place a scheme for businesses that will be equivalent to the scheme for households to make sure that businesses are able to get through the winter. 

“We’re going to review it after six months. We’ll make sure that the most vulnerable businesses like pubs, like shops, continue to be supported after that.”

Truss confirmed the initial scheme “will apply from the first of October to make sure businesses have that security through the winter”. 

The savings will be first seen in October bills, which are typically received in November. 

Under the scheme, wholesale prices will be fixed for all non-domestic energy customers at 21.1p per kWh for electricity and 7.5p per kWh for gas for six months. 

Firms do not need to contact suppliers as this will be automatically applied to them. 

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng said: “We have stepped in to stop businesses collapsing, protect jobs and limit inflation.

The National: MPs have written to the Chancellor asking for assurances that an OBR forecast would be publishedMPs have written to the Chancellor asking for assurances that an OBR forecast would be published (Image: BBC/PA)

“And with our plans to boost home-grown energy supply, we will bring security to the sector, growth to the economy and secure a better deal for consumers.”

Treasury refuses to publish economic forecast

This comes as the Treasury is refusing to publish a forecast of the UK’s economic outlook alongside this Friday’s mini budget. 

The BBC reports that independent forecaster the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has already provided a draft to Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng. 

The Treasury Select Committee says a forecast is “vital” given recent government moves to help support people with the cost of living. 

It is believed that the mini budget will see the Government reverse a rise in national insurance and scrap a planned increase in corporation tax. 

The draft forecast provided by the OBR does not include the impact of the energy bill help and, whilst it has offered to provide a forecast including this, this has been rejected. 

The fact the offer has been refused has led to concerns about whether the Government’s economic policy is “flying blind”, given the prediction of a lengthy recession. 

MPs on the Treasury Select Committee wrote to the Chancellor on Tuesday asking for assurances that the OBR forecast would be published. 

The committee’s chairman Mel Stride said: “These forecasts are a vital indicator of the health of the nation’s finances and provide reassurance and confidence to international markets and investors.

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“There has been a deterioration in our economic outlook since the last OBR forecast in March. There have been significant fiscal interventions since then and we are told there will be further significant interventions including major permanent tax cuts to be announced on Friday. 

“Under these circumstances, it is vital that an independent OBR forecast is provided.”

The OBR is obliged to produce two economic forecast per year, usually accompanying the autumn budget and spring statement. 

On Friday, there will be no independent assessment about whether or not permanent tax cuts and some one-off spending increases are consistent with the Government's budget rules. 

The lack of an OBR forecast also means it will not cast judgement on the imapct of any new announcements on growth. 

A spokesperson for the Treasury said: "Given the exceptional circumstances our country faces, we have moved at immense speed to provide significant energy bill support for households and businesses, and are acting swiftly to set out further plans to kickstart economic growth later this week.

"We remain committed to maintaining the usual two forecasts in this fiscal year, as is required."