On Parliament’s first day back in session, I challenged the Government in the House of Commons to act to protect small businesses from spiralling energy costs.

While pressing the Government to freeze the energy bills for households, I highlighted the need to protect restaurants, pubs, cafes and other small businesses from eye-watering energy costs in order to protect jobs.

I said:

“In the Minister’s statement and in many of his answers he has focused on what the Government have already announced, but does he recognise that that does not come close to meeting the depth of the crisis that we now face?”

“Does he accept the need for a freeze on domestic bills and action to match his words on businesses? Across my constituency, hundreds of small businesses, particularly in the hospitality sector, are at risk. Thousands upon thousands of jobs are threatened without decisive action. When can we expect it?”

The Minister responded saying that we “will not have to wait too long to see further measures.”

This Government are totally disconnected from reality. Families and businesses can’t afford to wait for a minute longer. I’ve heard from pubs and other small businesses facing energy bills that have tripled or quadrupled – they simply won’t be able to afford to keep going without Government acting immediately to protect them, and the jobs that depend on them.

I welcome the promise of action, but we need more than words. Ministers should freeze energy bills for families, pay for it out of a proper windfall tax on energy company profits, and protect small businesses with a cut in business rates and a proper package of support. The Government haven’t come close to accepting the scale of this challenge – we need action now to save businesses and jobs.

You can read the full exchange here.

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