16th Oct 2012
As British Gas and others announce new price increases, research has shown that small businesses are already suffering from the cost of energy.
According to the Forum of Private Business (FPB), 85% have had to pay more for their energy during the past three months. Another 88% said transport costs have risen, while 82% have seen the amount they spend on marketing increase.
One in three respondents say they are unable to pass on the increase to customers so have been forced to cut their own costs.
The FPB's Alex Jackman said: “The major reasons for increases in prices are predominantly down to VAT and energy prices rising, coupled with the weakness of sterling for importers.
“Unfortunately, it doesn’t look as if there is going to be any respite from energy hikes any time soon. Oil prices have started rising again having dipped in the summer, and now we have the likes of British Gas raising prices for customers too.
"On the horizon we have a 3p a litre increase in fuel duty scheduled for January.
“It could be that we are shaping up for another winter of discontent, particularly if the mercury plunges this winter and firms are hit with huge heating bills and a fall in trade like we saw three years ago.
"Many firms are already battling the economic elements, but if the weather turns it could spell the end for those already walking a cost tightrope.”