Business 'has to have support now' on energy

Business 'has to have support now' on energy

Industry manufacturers of energy-efficient systems are reporting a spike in interest amid the growing clamour for urgent government action on the price crisis facing businesses.

Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programmed this morning, British Chambers of Commerce president Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith said the situation was urgent. 

“More and more businesses are shutting down because of costs that are absolutely outside their control, and they cannot get support in any other way,” she said.

“It’s not as if, for many of them, they can borrow money. They’ve come out of Covid, they’ve already got loans, they’ve already got higher costs from National Insurance, there still isn’t a reduction on VAT.

"They have to have support now.”

Yesterday the BCC said it was now forecasting a recession for the UK economy, with three consecutive quarters of contraction between Q2 and Q4 in 2022.

Andrew Large, director general at the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI), told Printweek that papermakers were worried, and effectively holding their breath until the new government was in place. 

“There is astonishment and disbelief that the UK has been put into a position of waiting for actions for two months when EU competitor nations have been putting plans in place and implementing them,” he stated.

“It is a concern that the UK will lose out as a result – and no real confidence that there won’t be energy outages this winter, despite what politicians and officials may say. This winter, if energy supplies remain stable in the UK, then it will be as a result of luck, not judgement.”

At the final Tory hustings event earlier this week PM candidate Liz Truss categorically stated that she could rule out energy rationing, in answer to a question from LBC's Nick Ferrari about the likely need for such measures.

Her assertion flies in the face of warnings from energy industry experts, who expect that some form of energy rationing will be necessary in the UK to avoid blackouts, and with businesses crying out for information to allow them to plan accordingly.

Printers are increasingly taking action to reduce their energy bills. Baldwin Technology has reported “an influx of requests” for LED-UV retrofits from European web offset printers. 

The manufacturer said it had been installing systems “at record pace” with a growing number of customers “racing to eliminate their reliance on gas to ensure continued production in the worst-case scenario of potentially severe disruptions this winter and beyond”.

UK-headquartered LED-UV specialist GEW has also seen a big increase in sales. 

“We have a seen without exaggeration a huge uptake across the world of LED UV systems, either new or conversions. LeoLED is now approaching more than 50% of our business,” said international sales manager Gary Doman. 

“The speed of change is accelerating and growing.”

Adphos also recently reported growing demand for its energy-saving drying systems.

Earlier this week, personal hygiene papermaker Kimberly Clark announced a £40m public-private investment with Carlton Power that will replace natural gas with hydrogen at its Barrow-in-Furness mill. 

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