Cost of living: Support and advice for small businesses


There are steps that local businesses can take to reduce the risks when market conditions are challenging or uncertain. You will also find sources of support and advice to help manage the circumstances. 

Energy bill support

Energy Bills Discount Scheme 

The Energy Bills Discount Scheme (EBDS) started on 1 April 2023. It follows the previous Energy Bill Relief Scheme which ended on 31 March 2023.  

EBDS provides eligible UK businesses and other non-domestic energy users with a discount on high energy bills until 31 March 2024.

For more detail, see the Energy Bills Discount Scheme.

    Other energy support for businesses

    There is a range of ongoing support from other organisations and schemes to support businesses with their energy costs. These include:

    Invest Northern Ireland

    Invest NI offers advice, support, and funding that can help your business operate more efficiently, minimise waste and reduce costs. You can also request a Sustainability Report for your business that will enable you to measure, monitor, and report on the environmental performance across key areas of your operations including raw materials, energy, carbon, packaging, biodiversity, and waste.

    Consumer Council

    The Consumer Council offers practical tips to help businesses with energy bills including, tools to help you switch energy suppliers and maximise energy efficiency. They also provide tips on reducing water bills and money-saving measures to use transport more efficiently and effectively. Find Consumer Council advice to help your business save money. guidance provides practical tips for saving energy and cutting business bills.

    Funding support for other areas of your businesses

    Aside from support with energy costs, there is funding support to help local businesses in other areas of their business. These include:

    Help and advice for managing debt

    Many businesses run into financial difficulties, and it can be a stressful position to be in, but there are dedicated organisations that can help you.

    Online debt advice services

    Online services on debt advice are secure, and you can get immediate, personalised help. Some services are available 24 hours a day. Access online support with:

    Our guide explains when and how to seek debt help and where to find guidance on avoiding debt. You will also find sources of debt advice for businesses in financial difficulty or facing insolvency - see business debt: help and advice.

    Telephone debt advice services

    Telephone debt services are usually available on weekdays, evenings, and Saturdays. You can speak directly with an expert adviser.

    Helpline Telephone Number
    Advice NI 0800 915 4604
    PayPlan 0800 280 2816
    StepChange Debt Charity 0800 138 1111
    • Advice NI Helpline
      0800 915 4604
    • StepChange Debt Charity Helpline
      0800 138 1111