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Cost of living support for businesses

Find out about support available for your business if you need help with the cost of living.

Financial cost of living support for businesses

Energy bill support

The government has announced a new Energy Bills Discount Scheme (EBDS), which runs from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024 for eligible non-domestic consumers. This scheme replaces the Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS) that supported non-domestic consumers between 1 October 2022 and 31 March 2023.

You may be eligible for the new Energy Bills Discount Scheme scheme if you are one of the following:

  • a business
  • a voluntary sector organisation, such as a charity
  • a public sector organisation such as a school, hospital and care home

The scheme is made up of three different parts:

  1. The baseline discount will be a per-unit reduction applied to energy bills for eligible non-domestic customers- subject to a maximum discount. This will be applied automatically for eligible organisations.
  2. The Energy and Trade Intensive Industries (ETII) discount will provide a higher level of support to businesses and organisations in eligible sectors – you will need to register to receive this support
  3. The Heat Network discount will provide a higher level of support to micro-businesses that rely on heat networks – you need to register to get this support.

The discount will apply to bills from 1 April 2023. Most eligible non-domestic customers receiving the baseline discount should expect to see it in their May 2023 bill.

If you think your supplier is not applying the discount correctly, you should contact your supplier in the first instance.

It is important to read the full guidance and eligibility criteria outlined on the Energy Bills Discount Scheme to ensure you receive the correct support.

Support for medium sized or small businesses

If your small business meets certain criteria you might be classed as a microbusiness.

In some cases, a microbusiness will have extra protections with energy contracts compared to small to medium enterprises, and large businesses.

You can check if your business could be classed as a microbusiness on the Citizens Advice webpage.

Ofgem has provided more information including links to further guidance on their energy advice for microbusinesses.

Recovery Loan Scheme

The Recovery Loan Scheme is a government scheme that supports small and medium sized businesses to access the finance they need to grow and invest. Eligible businesses can receive loads of up to £2 million.

You may be eligible for a loan through the Recovery Loan Scheme if your business:

  • is trading in the UK
  • has a turnover of £45 million or less

You also need to show that your business:

  • is viable
  • is not in difficulty

If you need more advice

Southwark Energy Service delivered by Citizens Advice Southwark who can provide advice and support for paying your business’s energy costs.

Business Debtline, is a charity that provides free and independent debt advice over the phone and online. It also provides a range of debt advice factsheets on topics ranging from business debts, debt solutions to dealing with creditors.

Guidance from the British Business Bank has published guidance on how smaller businesses can tackle the cost of living, reduce costs and build financial resilience.

Support in raising a complaint  

Ofgem, the UK Office of Gas and Electricity Markets has guidance for getting help if your business can't afford its energy bills,

If you are a domestic or micro business consumer of an energy company, you have the right to raise a complaint with the Energy Ombudsman. You should always contact your supplier first.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) allow you to pay your self-assessment tax bill in instalments if you cannot afford to pay it in full (Time to Pay scheme).

Support to find and advice about business property

The London Business Hub Cost of Doing Business Hub provides practical guides on the steps you can take to protect your business, avoid cash flow problems and manage business finances.

The London Business Hub also offers a free property advice service to help with finding suitable commercial space, end-of-lease issues, and rent negotiations.

Hiring a workspace

You can check our property and space information you if want to hire a flexible workspace or find a premise to hire that we’ve assessed on our workspace provider list.

Other support to help your business thrive

Start-up support

Southwark Pioneers Fund is a programme of support for business founders and aspiring entrepreneurs in Southwark. Find out more about the support to launch and grow your business. 

Help to grow your business

The London Business Hub supports small businesses by providing them with the tools they need to thrive and recover. Southwark businesses can access unbiased business support, including help with business planning, sales and marketing.

The government-funded business support helpline provides help with starting and running a business

Get a grant or loan to grow your business

The Growth Impact Fund provides social investment for early stage, growing organisations that are committing to growing their teams’ diversity and tackling inequality in the UK. 

Find out more about business recovery loans and accredited lenders

Help with recruitment

Southwark Works provides free recruitment services and help if you are recruiting for vacant positions.

Page last updated: 25 April 2023


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