The Mineral Products Association (MPA) has welcomed yesterday’s Government announcement of support for businesses on energy costs.
The scale of the Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS) – which will have enough impact to help businesses through the winter – is particularly recognised and appreciated by MPA members who between them manufacture 400 million tonnes of essential mineral products each year.
The EBRS is designed to provide a discount on wholesale gas and electricity prices for all UK businesses whose energy costs have spiralled. It applies to energy usage from 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023, running for an initial six month period.
But questions remain over the details of the scheme, according to the MPA, including how it will work for companies with complex contractual arrangements for energy and for those not connected to the grid, as well as what happens after the first six months. For example, MPA has been calling for electricity market reform to remove exposure to volatile gas markets.
The Government also pledged ongoing support for ‘vulnerable businesses’ without defining whether this included companies in essential energy-intensive industries like cement and lime manufacture.
Diana Casey, Director of Energy and Climate Change at MPA, said: “This welcome intervention by the Government will help essential mineral producers through the winter. However, energy prices are expected to remain high well beyond the next six months. It is vital that the proposed three-month review considers how energy intensive industries like cement and lime can be supported to remain competitive beyond March 2023.”
Nigel Jackson, Chief Executive of MPA, said: “It has been clear for months that the Government would have to intervene in the energy market to prevent widespread economic difficulties, and we welcome the scale and decisiveness of the announcement.
“But we are also calling for action on fuel duty, which for our industry has gone up massively this year after the right to use red diesel was withdrawn. In the longer term we need to see delivery of the Government’s energy infrastructure programme to ensure we never face such challenges again. Our members stand ready to supply the essential materials needed to build the infrastructure for nuclear and renewable energy generation and distribution.”
About the Mineral Products Association:
The Mineral Products Association (MPA) is the trade association for the aggregates, asphalt, cement, concrete, dimension stone, lime, mortar and silica sand industries. With the merger of British Precast, and affiliation of the British Association of Reinforcement (BAR), the British Calcium Carbonate Federation, the Cement Admixtures Assocation (CAA), CONSTRUCT, Eurobitume, MPA Northern Ireland, MPA Scotland and the UK Quality Ash Association (UKQAA), it has a growing membership of 520 companies and is the sectoral voice for mineral products. MPA membership is made up of the vast majority of independent SME quarrying companies throughout the UK, as well as the 9 major international and global companies. It covers 100% of UK cement and lime production, 90% of GB aggregates production, 95% of asphalt and over 70% of ready-mixed concrete and precast concrete production. In 2018, the industry supplied £16 billion worth of materials and services to the Economy. It is also the largest supplier to the construction industry, which had annual output valued at £172 billion in 2018. Industry production represents the largest materials flow in the UK economy and is also one of the largest manufacturing sectors.
For media enquiries, contact Elizabeth Clements at: Elizabeth.Clements@mineralproducts.org.