Energy: 'Thousands of jobs will be lost' if firms not offered urgent help, government source warns

ITV News Deputy Political Editor Anushka Asthana visits a glass company hit hard by the rising energy costs

Factories will close, many for good, and thousands of jobs will be lost if energy intensive industries are not offered urgent support, a government source has told ITV News.

The price of energy has rocketed by more than 250% this year and while household customers are protected by a cap on their bills, businesses are not - meaning energy intensive industries are being hit hard.

The government source said: “Without urgent support to help British industry manage high global gas prices factories will close, many for good, and thousands of jobs will be lost.”

They warned that the spiralling price of wholesale gas was crippling industries such as steel and coal.

It comes as Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng submitted a formal bid to the Treasury for support for business – a day after he was slapped down for suggesting talks were already underway.

A Treasury source had claimed the business secretary was making things up when he told the BBC he was working closely on this issue with Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

ITV News understands there are concerns in the Treasury as to how much support businesses might bid for if they believe government bailouts are on the table.

Elsewhere in government many figures believe energy intensive industries should not be allowed to collapse over a temporary spike in costs, which they have little control over.

But minister Damian Hinds did not reveal what kind of support could be provided when asked by ITV News whether the government was considering providing grants to help businesses or an energy price cap to protect them.

Along with steel and coal, sectors such as ceramics, glass making and paper production are also facing huge costs.

Shadow business secretary, Labour MP Pat McFadden there is a "real potential job crisis" in those industries if support is not provided.

Industry leaders in both glass and steel told ITV news that their members could face permanent damage within weeks.

Gareth Stace, the director general of UK Steel told ITV news he wanted Boris Johnson to step in directly, calling on the PM to “bang ministerial heads together”.

The prime minister's spokesman said the government would "continue to speak with industry" to consider whether "any further action is necessary to mitigate the challenges" faced by energy intensive businesses.

"We recognise they are facing a particular challenge at this point and we'll continue to discuss that with them."

The spokesman said the PM was "closely involved".

The Energy Intensive Users Group (EIUG), which represents a number of energy intensive industries, said it was keen to "work with government to avoid threats both to the production of essential domestic and industrial products, as well an enormous range of supply chains critical to our economy".

The EIUG's membership comprises trade associations which include UK Steel, the Chemical Industries Association, the Confederation of Paper Industries, the Mineral Products Association, the British Glass Manufacturers Federation, the British Ceramic Confederation, BOC, Air Products and the Major Energy Users Council.

It is pressing the government to implement "prompt and preventative measures to help avoid recent production curtailments in the fertiliser and steel sectors being replicated in other areas this winter".