No help for farmers on energy prices in Budget

By Andrew Heskin, Partner and ARA specialist

The National Farmers Union (NFU) has expressed disappointment that UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Spring Budget failed to address the needs of agricultural and horticultural businesses facing surging energy costs.

The NFU president, Minette Batters, urged the government to prioritise food production and extend the Energy and Trade Intensive Industries (ETII) scheme to energy-intensive sectors like horticulture and poultry production.

The current support under the Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS) will expire at the end of March and be replaced by the less generous Energy Bills Discount Scheme (EBDS).

Batters expressed frustration over the lack of support for the industry amidst soaring production costs and the absence of an extension for the ETII scheme.

She called for an urgent review of the ETII to prevent essential and vulnerable food-producing sectors from facing a “cliff edge” when the EBRS ends.

The UK’s four farm unions have also sent a letter to the government asking for an extension of the ETII to include horticultural and poultry production, warning of potential falls in food production if the scheme is not amended to provide higher relief.

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