The Federation for Small Businesses has reported that 1 in 4 (well, 24%) small firms plan to close, downsize or restructure if energy bill relief ends in April, 2023.
Their survey measured the impact of the energy price crisis on small businesses, shows small firms await with both hope and anxiety for clarity on whether they will still be eligible for support amid the on-going government review of the six-month scheme, which is due to end on April 1, 2023.
The figure rises to 42% of firms in the accommodation and food sector, followed by the wholesale and retail (34%), and manufacturing sectors (29%).The FSB says:
More than four in ten small firms (44%) are considering raising prices to cope with soaring bills when the current EBRS is due to end, and a third (30%) expect to cancel or scale down planned investments.
One in five (18%) have told us they would need to keep prices the same, even though their energy bills are increasing, because customers simply cannot afford further increases.
A majority of 63% say energy costs have increased this year compared to last year. Some 44% report a double, triple or even higher increase in their energy bills, and nearly one in five (19%) say their bills had tripled or higher.
In response to the eye-watering bills, nearly half of small firms (46%) have already raised prices although it has been impossible for them to pass on full costs to consumers tightening their belts amid the cost of living rises.