Rising energy costs threaten independent pubs and eateries

Fuel costs increased by £215 on average last year, according to the micro-business owners surveyed
Industry
11/07/2017 - 11:14
Over half of Britain’s independent pubs, cafes and restaurants feel that the rising cost of energy is crippling their future with some having their energy completely cut off due to missed payments.

The findings come in a survey commissioned by independent energy supplier, Utilita Energy, which is launching into the commercial energy sector, also found that almost half feel they get an unfair deal from energy suppliers, while 71% said they have been caught out by unexpected Terms and conditions.

The independent survey of over 500 micro-business owners found that on average their fuel costs had increased by £215 in the last year and, in order to secure the success of their businesses, owners are working over 44 hours a week, with a third working over 50 hours.

Other statistics from the survey included that a third of those asked were forced onto a high tariff due to being seen as a credit risk, and 50% were asked to make large, upfront payments.

Clare Bailey, independent retail expert and high street campaigner, said: “Passionate, retail business owners are the life-blood of a place – not only do they break up the monotony of “clone-town Britain”, but they make a considerable commercial contribution.

“Statistics illustrate that for every £1 spent with a local, independent retailer, some 50p-70p circulates back into that same community. That same £1 spent in a chain store may only return 5p to the local economy. So, when you support local stores you are making 10 times more impact, boosting the economic health of your area.

According to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, micro-businesses now account for an estimated 5.2 million UK private sector businesses making up approximately 94% of the UK private business sector.

Utilita Energy, which claims to be Britain’s fastest growing independent energy supplier, is entering into the sector with a single tariff, flexible payment options and no upfront deposits, because of what it say are ‘concerning’ survey findings.

Shaun Underwood, director of Utilita Business Energy, said: “We should be supporting Britain’s small businesses in these times of uncertainty – but it is clear that there are a significant and growing number of small businesses that appear to be treated unfairly and have very real concerns.”

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