THE toll sky high energy bills is taking on Chester’s hospitality industry has been raised in Parliament.

Chester MP Samantha Dixon raised the issue in the House of Commons, asking the UK Government’s Energy Minister Amanda Solloway about what hopes the city’s bars, restaurants and cafes have for survival if bills stay at their current rates.

This follows a number of business closures in the city within the last few years, with other business owners and traders taking to social media recently to talk about the challenges they face.

Speaking in the Commons, Sam Dixon MP said: “The hospitality sector is very important to Chester.

Chester and District Standard: Samantha Dixon MPSamantha Dixon MP

“Talking to the Chester Business Improvement District this morning, and following comments from chef Gary Usher, it is clear that the damaging impact of sky-high energy bills is still being felt by extremely significantly.

“What hope can the Minister offer to hard-pressed restaurateurs in Chester and across the country?”

The comments have been backed by Chester’s Business Improvement District.

In response, Amanda Solloway MP said the government was looking at brokers, it is looking at ‘blend and extend’ - a type of energy contract for businesses which lowers the rates they pay but increases the length of the contract.

She said: “I am aware of the challenges facing all of the industry.

“I have ongoing talks with UK Hospitality as well as other groups.

“Clearly there are things we can do in terms of the blend and extend, and also one of the things we’re doing is looking at the brokers and making sure third-party intermediaries are doing their jobs correctly.”