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Struggling theatres, museums, galleries and music venues will receive government support with their energy bills for initial six-month period.

Musicians performing under lights in venue
Music venues are facing difficulties due to rising energy costs

Creative Commons licence

Arts and culture organisations struggling with soaring energy costs will receive support with their bills from next month, the government has announced.

Under the plans, set out today by Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg, energy prices for non-domestic energy customers such as businesses, charities and public sector organisations will be cut in an effort to help them survive.

The Government Energy Bill Relief Scheme will provide a discount on wholesale gas and electricity prices for all non-domestic customers for an initial six-month period from 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023, with savings likely to be first seen in bills received in November.


The government will set a Supported Wholesale Price – a limit on the price businesses will have to pay - which is expected to be £211 per MWh for electricity and £75 per MWh for gas, less than half the wholesale prices anticipated this winter.

The government will conduct a review of the scheme in three months' time, to assess how effective it has been in giving support to vulnerable non-domestic customers.

It will also identify which groups of non-domestic customers, by sector, size or geography, remain particularly vulnerable to energy price rises, taking into account the latest prices, alongside other cost pressures.

Decisions on the extent to which the scheme could be extended and further targeted, or alternatively replaced with other targeted support for these most vulnerable users will then be made.

Leaders in the arts and culture sector have been warning for months that they have been significantly affected by rising energy rices.

In June, MPs were warned that theatres and festivals were facing higher costs for utilities and supplies, leaving them in a precarious position.

And earlier this month sector leaders said that museums, galleries, music venues, theatres and other venues across the country may be forced to cut hours, close for the winter or shut down entirely, unless the government intervenes.

Stop businesses collapsing

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng said: "We have stepped in to stop businesses collapsing, protect jobs, and limit inflation.

And with our plans to boost home-grown energy supply, we will bring security to the sector, growth to the economy and secure a better deal for consumers."

Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said there has been an unprecedented rise in energy prices following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, affecting 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.

"This, alongside the measures we are taking to boost the amount of domestic energy we produce to improve both energy security and supply, will increase growth, protect jobs and support families with their cost of living this winter."

Responding to the scheme, Mark Davyd, CEO & Founder of Music Venue Trust (MVT), said at face value the package of support announced by government "appears to comprehensively tackle the immediate short term energy crisis for grassroots music venues".

"We await full details of the scheme and the method of implementation by the energy retailers and suppliers, but the base unit rate of 21.1p per kW/h laid out by these plans is sufficient to avert the collapse of the sector if it is fully delivered," he said.

"The government has indicated that 'pubs' will attract support for longer than the 6 month initial period based on the special circumstances of the energy crisis in relation to the operation of their business. 

"We have asked for urgent clarification that the broad term 'pub' includes music venues and other licensed premises essential to the grassroots music ecosystem, and anticipate that this will be the case."

Davyd added that MVT has requested the government work alongside it on long-term plans to secure affordable, sustainable and resilient energy for the sector.