In Britain, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is warning of “a generation of lost businesses, jobs, and potential.” The FSB reports that 53% of small businesses are expecting to “collapse, shrink or, at best, stagnate over the next year.”
Based on the FSB’s estimates, small businesses are bracing themselves for electricity bills that have gone up by 349% from February 2021 to August 2022, and gas bills that have gone up by 424% over the same period.
Unlike household energy bills that have price caps regulated by Ofgem, businesses are left unprotected by any sort of regulatory cap. Some fear that their energy bills will soon be four times more than mortgage repayments on their properties.
What makes the situation more catastrophic is that many households that will be pushed into poverty by the energy crisis are the same households that rely on many of these small businesses for employment and provisions.
The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), which represents 48,000 local shops employing 405,000 workers, wrote a letter to Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi, saying that energy bills had surged to an average of £45,000 for smaller members. “Even a very small store at 1000 sq ft can have annual electricity usage of around 80,000 kWh,” ACS said in the letter. “Energy costs in the convenience sector are set to top £2.5bn by the end of this year, more than doubling from previous levels in 2021.”
“Many convenience store retailers, both small and large businesses, are reporting that they are not viable with the increased energy costs they are now facing, and without action to mitigate this we will see villages, housing estates, neighborhoods, and high streets lose their small shops.”
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