In a message to Government ministers, the federation urged the Department for Business, Environment and Transport to extend support for the industry when the Government’s Energy Bill Relief Scheme ends on 31 March 2023.
CCF chief executive Shane Brennan said: “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.
“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.”
Letters to the Chancellor and the new Cabinet Ministers from the Cold Chain Federation argued for the continuation of energy bill support to cold chain operations, citing 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.
Need for energy
It claimed that – unlike other sectors – cold stores use significantly more energy in the summer rather than the winter to keep products cool, so the continuation of support beyond March 2023 would be vital.
The latest pleas from the cold food chain followed calls from the food and drink industry for new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to support the sector by cutting red tape, reducing costs and working more collaboratively with businesses.
Sunak took over as Prime Minister at the end of last month and set about appointing his cabinet from across the Conservative Party. Importantly for the sector Dr Theresa Coffey MP was given the role as secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs.