The Farmers’ Union of Wales has welcomed the UK Government’s announcement this week which outlined plans to help cut energy bills for businesses, but says it might be too little too late for some.

Business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg announced the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, which aims to provide help for businesses and other non-domestic customers over the coming winter by setting wholesale prices expected to be £211 per MWh for electricity and £75 per MWh for gas.

FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “Until now, there has been much focus on domestic energy prices and the need for government intervention to help families, and rightly so given the expected price rises in October, but energy prices for businesses have attracted far less attention.

“In January 2022, we warned that the situation for businesses was already dire, with a letter to the then Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Kwasi Kwarteng, highlighting that dairy farmers in Wales were already facing increases in energy costs of up to £1,000 a month, on top of huge pressures due to increased costs for inputs such as fertiliser.

“At that time, we called on Mr Kwarteng to implement policies which would negate the severe impacts of rising energy prices for Welsh and UK businesses.

“This announcement of support for businesses and other non-domestic consumers is therefore welcomed and is better late than never, but the FUW is concerned that it may have come too late for some businesses.”

CF Fertilisers UK, a branch of CF Industries which produces 60 per cent of Britain’s carbon dioxide supplies, recently announced it would temporarily halt ammonia production at its Billingham Complex due to the massive hike in production costs, having already announced the closure of its Ince site in June and having received emergency government interventions in 2021.

“In July, the FUW launched its Five Point Plan for UK Governments aimed at relieving pressures for farmers, food producers and consumers in the immediate term, while bolstering our food and energy security in ways which reduce the dangers of future exposure to global emergencies,” added Mr Roberts.

“The plan highlighted the fact that countries across the EU have announced support packages worth hundreds of billions for businesses suffering as a result of massive price rises, and that, by comparison, the support provided in the UK had been negligible.

“It will take years for businesses to fully recover from the ongoing energy crisis and current inflation rates, and now that this support package has been announced, we urge the UK Government to extend the price caps for businesses beyond March 2023 when it reviews the scheme in three months’ time.”