UK: The Cold Chain Federation has written to the chancellor and newly appointed cabinet ministers seeking reassurances of support on energy beyond March 2023.
While the Government’s Energy Bill Relief Scheme provides support to eligible organisations until the end of March next year, the Cold Chain Federation is urging ministers to provide reassurances that the food, pharmaceutical and other cold chains will be treated as critical industries through this winter and beyond.
“With more and more cold chain businesses no longer being able to rely on forward-bought or hedged electricity, and massive increase in prices forecast well into 2023 and beyond, there are serious questions about the viability of some cold chain operations,” said Cold Chain Federation chief executive Shane Brennan. “We are urging Ministers to provide reassurance that whatever government support is in place beyond March next year, the critical businesses in food and pharmaceutical supply chains will remain supported.”
The Cold Chain Federation has warned failure to extend energy bill support will risk disruption to food and pharmaceutical supply chains and fuel further food inflation for products like meat, dairy, fruit and vegetables. It argues that, unlike other sectors, cold stores use significantly more energy in the summer rather than the winter to keep products cool, so the continuation of support beyond March 2023 will be vital.
Earlier this year, in its Cold Chain Report 2022, the federation revealed that electricity spend for the UK’s cold storage facilities had more than doubled between 2021 and 2022.