The Cold Chain Federation has written to various members of the UK Government seeking urgent reassurance that the cold chains will be treated as a critical industry beyond March 2023.
Seeking urgent reassurance, the Cold Chain Federation has written to Jeremy Hunt, the UK’s Chancellor, as well as newly appointed Cabinet Ministers to understand whether cold chains will be treated as critical businesses beyond March 2023.
“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,” said Shane Brennan, Chief Executive of the Cold Chain Federation.
Cold chains transport food, pharmaceuticals and other products from where they are grown or extracted, through the manufacturing process and into shops and restaurants. According to the Cold Chain Federation, cold chains are “vital to our economy and society” as they “make modern life possible”.
As a way of supporting eligible organisations, the Government has created an Energy Bill Relief Scheme that is available until 31 March 2023. This scheme allows discounts to be applied to energy usage for non-domestic customers, thus making their bills cheaper amid the on-going energy crisis.
However, the Cold Chain Federation is seeking clarification on what support the UK Government will be offering beyond 31 March 2023.
“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,” explained Brennan.
In the letter to the Chancellor and the new Cabinet Ministers in the Department for Business, Environment and Transport, the Federation has made a case for the continuation of energy bill support to cold chain operations. What’s more, it has highlighted the potential for unavoidable disruption to food and pharmaceutical supply chains and a significant risk of further food inflation for products like meat, dairy, fruit and vegetables.
Unlike other sectors, cold stores use significantly more energy in the summer rather than in the winter to keep products cool. Therefore, the Federation deems support from the Government after March 2023 as vital for cold chain businesses across the UK.