The rise in recent months of energy costs is taking its toll on small businesses in the UK recovering from Covid restrictions.
Employing almost 13 million people, crippling energy costs have become a huge concern as UK business owners try to get back on their feet after nearly two years of sporadic restrictions, shutdowns and employee absenteeism.
Despite difficulties in supply chains reported in recent months, small businesses feel that their energy bills are the biggest threat to contend with. It has been reported that some businesses have remained closed and requested staff continue to work from home in order to avoid paying energy overheads.
Craig Beaumont from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) states, “This is a cruel pincer. It will lead to some businesses realising they cannot continue as is, either [by] trying to slash costs or, the last thing they want to do, lose people. Or they could have to give up altogether, shutting the business down and letting everyone go.”
Last month, senior officials from the Treasury Department, No 10 and Ofgem, the energy regulator, met energy companies in a series of emergency talks to avert a national energy crisis. Though they were trying to create a safety net for domestic energy use, small businesses were not reassured. As Craig Beaumont explained:
“Small companies don’t have the commercial clout of larger firms which are able to negotiate competitive longer-term energy tariffs with a supplier, but they don’t qualify for the same regulated protections which are offered to households either.”
Read more about the energy crisis affecting small businesses here.