THE businesses that provide us with essentials from food to clothing to the fabric of our homes are in a race against time to prepare for an unprecedented power price surge next month.

They have been left in limbo by Downing Street and Prime Minister Liz Truss, silent since promising equivalent support to that for households, and who looks to be leading a government already swaying dangerously close to one gaffe after the other.

Reports say Downing Street insists firms, reeling from Brexit, the pandemic and the energy crisis, will get money to help with October’s power cost increases, but not until November.

Businesses have been calling for an idea of what to expect before making critical decisions and there is frustration nothing more has been uttered.

The ominous suggestion in one Financial Times article was that the policy is “not worked through yet”.

More details are expected in an emergency budget after the country exits the mourning period for the Queen, but concerns have been raised over the lack of advice that could have been given while still maintaining respect.

Other plans are getting a good airing, even though the aroma may not be fragrant.

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng looks intent on scrapping the cap on bankers’ bonuses as part of a post-Brexit scramble at City rules with concerning urgency.

Prime Minister Liz Truss on her way to make the energy announcement on September 8. PA WireKwasi Kwarteng in Downing Street recently. Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

The 2014 cap introduced by European Union legislation in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis limits annual pay-outs to twice a banker’s salary.

Boris Johnson had to back-pedal that he was not planning to lift the cap after a backlash for reportedly considering the move in June.

The Chancellor is plotting “pay rises for City bankers, pay cuts for district nurses”, said Sir Keir Starmer, Labour leader.

“It sends a rather confused signal when people are being squeezed in terms of the cost of living and the Government is trying to encourage pay restraint in the public sector,” Andrew Sentance, a former Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, told the BBC.

The apparent fixation with abandoning such safety features around the highly-paid when the country is in the grip of a cost of living crisis will be abhorrent to most.

Business correspondent Kristy Dorsey outlines the situation in her analysis and concludes ditching bonus caps for bankers “is a risky business”, adding: “In an inflationary spiral where the Governor of the Bank of England has asked ordinary workers to ‘think and reflect’ before asking for pay rises, the optics on removing the cap on bonuses for highly remunerated bankers couldn’t be worse.”

Sceptics might surmise it smacks of distraction, a smokescreen for something else. They could be forgiven, as since the advent of the new era of mistrust set by the Johnson administration, it might seem that nothing is as it seems.

Business editor Ian McConnell drills into the latest unemployment figures. “On the face of it, this week’s unemployment figures looked like good news,” he writes. “However, scratch the surface of the solid-looking headline numbers and developing weaknesses reveal themselves.”

It is “important to realise the unemployment rate is a lagging indicator of the economy’s performance” and “it does seem clear that unemployment will soon be heading in the wrong direction”.

It might have been considered a stunt by some, but outspoken Wetherspoon’s chief Tim Martin’s one day price cut of 7.5 per cent a drink was designed, writes deputy business editor Scott Wright, “to illustrate the benefit that a reduction in value-added tax of that scale – from the current 20% to 12.5% – would have on an industry that is increasingly feeling the strain”.

Businesses will need more substance than we have had so far in the mini-budget next week.

Prime Minister Liz Truss on her way to make the energy announcement on September 8. PA WireOffice for National Statistics