BEIS Bulletin – 12th January 2023
Welcome to the BEIS Bulletin from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Here’s the latest news from BEIS:
New Energy Bills Discount Scheme announced
Following the conclusion of the review into the current ‘Energy Bill Relief Scheme’ (EBRS) for non-domestic customers, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced a new ‘Energy Bills Discount Scheme’ (EBDS).
The new scheme aims to strike a balance between supporting businesses over the course of the next twelve months and limiting taxpayer’s exposure to volatile energy markets.
The Chancellor has also written to Ofgem asking it to provide an update on the progress of the review into the non-domestic market in time for the Budget. This is to ascertain whether further action is needed on issues such as: the pricing and availability of tariffs, standing charges and renewal terms, and the ability of certain sectors to secure contracts.
In addition, the Digital team at HM Treasury has also tweeted a series of useful explainers.
Government proposes new laws to reduce impact of strikes
The Government has introduced the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill which will allow ministers to set minimum levels of service in certain sectors that must be met during strike action.
Government departments will consult on the appropriate minimum service levels for affected sectors, starting with fire, ambulance and rail services, and these will be set out in regulations. Other sectors included in the Bill include health and education services, nuclear decommissioning, border security and other transport services. The Government hopes that these sectors will reach voluntary agreements on minimum service levels.
Once the legislation is passed, employers will be able to issue work notices to specify the workforce required to meet the minimum service levels set out in regulations and trade unions and individuals will be obliged to comply. Unions will lose their legal protection from damages if they do not comply with the regulations and workers who strike after being told by employers they have been named in a work notice will lose their right to automatic protection from unfair dismissal.
More information is available in the press notice.
UK and Saudi Arabia pledge to deliver closer co-operation on critical minerals
Business Secretary Grant Shapps has agreed to deepen the UK’s collaboration with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on critical minerals, putting the Government’s ambitions for building more resilient critical minerals supply chains into clear action.
The partnership paves the way for the UK and Saudi Arabia to work together on diversifying sources of critical minerals, both through Saudi investment in the UK’s world leading manufacturing and mining finance sectors as well as new opportunities for UK mining firms to do business in Saudi Arabia. This will also be important in ensuring the UK’s critical mineral supply chains are not overly reliant on any one country, with supplies currently dominated by China.
The pledge builds on objectives already set out in the Critical Minerals Strategy, published in July 2022, to work at home, abroad, and through the markets to develop more robust supplies of these minerals. It is hoped the announcement will be the first of many such partnerships between the UK and other countries.
- This week, BEIS has launched a consultation on reforming the Electricity Capacity Market. The policy proposals fall into three broad categories: strengthening the security of supply; aligning the Capacity Market with net zero and other improvements to the capacity market. Overall, the proposals aim to strengthen security of supply and provide greater clarity for investors around the transition to net zero.
- The department has also opened a further consultation regarding lighting efficiency standards. New proposals will ensure that lighting in domestic and non-domestic buildings in England, Scotland and Wales meets minimum energy performance standards. It is estimated that, depending on the size of the home, switching to more efficient lighting could save a household C.£2,000 – £3,000 over the lifetime of the bulbs. This consultation will be of particular interest to: the lighting sector; those engaged in product energy efficiency and net zero; those representing consumers.