Retail groups have expressed dismay over the continuing lack of clarity over business support for energy costs.
Wholesale gas and electricity prices have been fixed for firms from October until March 2023, but any ongoing assistance is under review. In October, ministers had promised to make an announcement before the end of 2022, but this has now been delayed until the new year.
The British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) said the delay will cause more unnecessary stress on retailers.
BIRA chief executive Andrew Goodacre said: “It is disappointing to see this important decision being delayed. Independent retailers have seen energy prices increase by as much as 600% in the past year and this current support package needs to be extended beyond March 2023.
“This is even more important as retailers are facing the double whammy of rapidly increasing costs and lower consumer expenditure due to the cost of living crisis. In order to plan ahead for next year, the high street businesses need to know the support that will be made available.”