• Paul Whiteman from NAHT. Next to him sayst he words 'NAHT comment on Energy Bill Relief Scheme for schools.

NAHT comment on energy bill relief scheme for schools

The Energy Bill Relief Scheme was published today.

The government said the scheme will provide energy bill relief for non-domestic customers in Great Britain.

Non-domestic customers include businesses, voluntary sector organisations, and public sector organisations – like schools –

Who are:

– on existing fixed price contracts that were agreed on or after 1 April 2022 

– signing new fixed price contacts

– on deemed/ out of contract variable tariffs

– on flexible or similar contracts 

Discounts will be applied to energy usage initially between 1 October 2022 and 31 March 2023.

The government said that it will provide a discount on gas and electricity unit prices.

To calculate the discount, the estimated wholesale portion of the unit price one would be paying this win will be compared to a baseline ‘government supported price’, which is lower than currently expected wholesale prices this year.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union, NAHT, said: “While it is positive to have more detail on the government’s plans to help schools with spiralling energy costs, we have real concerns that this just doesn’t go far enough.

“Though it is good to see that schools who have reached the end of their contract and switched since April will be helped, we’re concerned that those who were hit with higher prices before that won’t be.

“There will be some schools who slip through the cracks.

“We are also very concerned that schools do not have any certainty on costs beyond 6 months – schools budget for the whole school year, six months doesn’t really solve things for them when they have no idea what will be facing them in the Spring term. 

“Schools will potentially still have to be diverting money towards energy and away from education, to avoid a nasty shock in six months’ time.”

He added: “Even with this cap many schools will still find they are left facing much higher bills than budgeted for, which will necessitate extensive cuts to their educational offer. 

“In a truly desperate situation, this plan is better than nothing, but unfortunately it doesn’t get close to solving the current funding crisis in schools.

“Energy bills are only one of the massive cost pressures facing schools this term. 

“The government’s decision not to fund teachers’ pay this year is an enormous hit to school finances, and many other costs are rising due to inflation too. The government urgently needs to take another look at education funding as a whole.”

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