Heavy industry struggling with surging energy costs will only get support if they can prove they have been pushed to the brink of closure, Whitehall sources have said, as industry leaders warned that the package sounded like no more than “flimsy sticking plaster”.
A senior government source said on Tuesday that any scheme for companies would be means-tested, time-limited and repayable to make sure it only dealt with the most severe cases of those about to stop production or go under entirely.
It could run into hundreds of millions of pounds but would be designed as loans, rather than grants, with the aim of taxpayer cash being recovered.
But industry leaders expressed scepticism that this would be enough, highlighting issues such as UK energy costs for the steel sector being up to 80% more than that paid in the rest of Europe.
The proposal to prop up struggling factories has … Read more