The industry has welcomed moves by the government to ease energy bills for UK firms by effectively cutting them in half for six months.

The scheme will fix wholesale gas and electricity prices for businesses from 1 October, shielding many from crippling costs and the possibility of going under.

A parallel scheme, based on the same criteria and offering comparable support, but recognising the different market fundamentals, will be established in Northern Ireland.

Business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg MP said: “We have seen an unprecedented rise in energy prices following Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine, which has affected consumers up and down the country and businesses of all sizes.

“The help we are already putting in place will save families money off their bills, and the government’s plans for businesses, charities and public sector organisations will give them the equivalent level of support.”

Logistics UK said rising energy prices were a concern to businesses across the sector, which already operate on low profit margins.

Kate Jennings, policy director at Logistics UK, said: “Figures from the latest edition of Logistics UK’s manager’s guide to distribution costs show that total vehicle operating costs have increased by 16.7% in the six months to 1 July 2022, as fuel, insurance premiums, business overheads and maintenance costs – such as tyres – have all increased.”

The RHA said that had the government not stepped in, many companies would have gone out of business:

“As this support is in place for six months and prices are likely to remain high for many months, the industry will need support for a longer period to protect our supply chains,” said RHA MD Richard Smith. “The announcement of a review on future support beyond six months is much needed, and we will be engaging closely with the government to ensure support is extended for the industry.”