A Summary of The Spring Budget For Small Businesses
Posted on Mar 14, 2023
The 15th March 2023 brought the release of the new Spring Budget by the freshly appointed chancellor, Jeremey Hunt. This release has brought Hunt’s first budget as chancellor, laying out the government’s plan for tax and spending policy. Plus the OBR (Office for Budget Responsibility) have published their updated economic forecasts for the next five years.
After a tumultuous few years and even some months and weeks, the release of the budget has been heavily anticipated. Particularly as businesses wanted to know how they will continue to be supported and what may impact their spending over the next year. As many of our business energy customers are small businesses, we have provided this short summary of the spring budget, focusing on what was mentioned regarding energy prices and business taxation.
Confirmation of the Energy Bills Discount Scheme
One of the most important parts of the spring budget for energy suppliers and our customers is the confirmation of the Energy Bills Discount Scheme. This has been confirmed as a replacement for the Energy Bills Relief Scheme, which will come into effect on the 1st April. This scheme is specifically in place for non-domestic gas and electricity customers and will offer support for the next 12 months. For more details on this, we have written a useful blog for our customers here.
On top of this it has also been confirmed that the Climate Change Agreement Scheme will be extended until March 2025. This provides eligible businesses with business tax relief for the implementation of energy efficiency measures.
Predictions for energy prices by the OBR
Thanks to the latest forecast by the Office For Budget Responsibility which was published alongside the new budget, we have some idea of what may happen to energy prices over the next year. As part of their fiscal forecast, developing on their previous forecast in November, the OBR have stated ‘Wholesale gas prices have more than halved over the past six months and are expected to fall further over the forecast.’
Corporation Tax Increase
The Chancellor has stated that the main corporation tax rate will increase for businesses from 19% to 25%, this will take effect from 1st April 2023.
In regards to capital allowances, the Government has also announced that the 100% first-year allowance for qualifying expenditure on electric vehicle charge-point equipment will be extended until 31 March 2025 for corporation tax, and 5 April 2025 for income tax. This measure is intended to continue to encourage the uptake of equipment for charging electric vehicles. Meaning businesses can incorporate this into their sustainability measures and goals with tax relief benefits.
What is P272? P27what? You aren’t alone in the dark about P272. P272 is regarded as one of the biggest shakeups to the business electricity market since deregulation. Sounds more like a character out of star wars, but here are some facts on P272, which we have put together hopefully jargon free. If you unsure on how P272 affects your business please do not hesitate to contact us for free on 0800 781 7626, we will be delighted to help you further. You may also like to view our infographic and visit our support page dedicated to the P272 OFGEM legislation.
The Facts – What Is P272
P272 is a new regulation which has been implemented by OFGEM. It affects the way suppliers settle electricity consumption for businesses with a specified energy use. Resulting in sites being changed to half hourly.
Remember, remember the 5th November… “Guy Fawkes?”. No, no… this is when the P272 migration began! The deadline for all sites to be settled to Half-Hourly is 1st April 2017. Don’t be fooled by the date, it really is 1st April! Also, don’t be put off by the 2017 threat – it’ll be here before you know it!
The settlement is being put in place in order for suppliers to balance the amount of energy being purchased from the Generators. The aim for P272 is to make the readings more accurate via the half hourly consumption. This will provide distributors with more understanding on electricity use. This results in networks ensuring they are sufficiently developed and maintained.
Ultimately, P272 helps you and your business manage and also use the energy smartly. It gives you the opportunity to see where and when you are consuming energy. Also, a more accurate settlement which could lead to better tariff rates… something nobody would say no to, agreed?
Now you (hopefully) have a little more understanding of P272 here is how to prepare:
Learn if your portfolio is affected.
Speak to your supplier, they will be more than happy to explore your options with you.
Select your Half-Hourly Meter and Data Collector.
If your business has a maximum demand electricity supply categorised by profile classes:
05 06 07 08
And you have an Automated Meter Reading meter of which is capable of HH data collection and remote programming. Just to let you know… 160,000 sites are affected so it is definitely worth double, maybe even triple checking!
“How do I check?!” I hear you say? Simple… you just check the S number at the top of your electricity bill to find out your sites profile class.
Believe it or not, P272 can be very beneficial for you and here’s why:
You receive accurate billing
It offers you the ability to avoid peak times of electricity use
It gives you an insight on your energy usage
It allows you to make room for an opportunity of improvement and efficiency
This is an OFGEM regulation affecting ALL maximum demand meters and ALL electricity suppliers equally. If you’re being advised P272 does not affect your business, please let us double check this for you.
A Russian rocket blasted into space this month to investigate whether any methane gas is present on Mars, as part of the joint ExoMars project created by the European and Russian space agencies.
Methane is a gas created by living microbes, and if it were to be detected it would be a revelation in the space industry as it could prove that life exists or existed on the red planet, some 225 million kilometres away from the Earth (which is itself something of a shock, given that in 2003 Mars was a mere 56 million kms away).
We already know there is life-giving water on Mars. Just like the Earth it has ice caps, although the water they contain is more elusive. The American space agency NASA made a huge discovery in 2006 when it found there was water flowing through the planet in even the hottest months of the year, and that the ‘lines’ that appear on our satellite images of Mars are streaks of flowing salt water.
That’s when the questions ‘did life exist on Mars, and can we find out?’ really started to arise.
The ExoMars project involves sending up a Trace Gas Orbiter to sniff the Martian atmosphere for methane, and if the results are positive then this would establish that methane has been generated via geology or a biological process.
As part of the same mission, a stationary lander called Schiaparelli will test the technology for a subsequent mission – ExoMars 2018 – which will see a UK-built rover collect soil samples filled with water particles and drill below the planet’s surface to look for other signs of life. That’s when the search for Martian life will start in earnest.
These two projects combined will cost an eye-watering £900 million but isn’t it worth it for the chance to make one of the biggest discoveries of all time? What a time to be alive!
Planetary scientist Dr Peter Grindrod, from Birkbeck, University of London, who is funded by the UK Space Agency, certainly thinks so. “It’s incredibly exciting,” he enthused. “This is a series of missions that’s trying to address one of the fundamental questions in science: is there life anywhere else besides the Earth? Finding that life exists elsewhere in the solar system would be a huge discovery, so the evidence has to be strong. As they say, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”
Wouldn’t it be amazing to find out if there really is Life On Mars, or if there has been in the past. It’s astonishing to think there could be more than just us Earthlings in our solar system!