‘It will be cheaper to close’: Businesses urge Lease Trust to act fast on high-cost bills | Small business


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Guy Adams, who has run the Barra Beach Hotel in the Hebrides for 16 years, has been forced to close his doors to guests for at least a year as spiraling energy bills put him out of business.

The hotelier’s annual electricity bill is forecast to rise from £25,000 to £120,000, with prices expected to rise from suppliers, who are also facing higher costs.

A boutique hotel in the west of Britain says it will have to double its guest prices next year – which Adams believes cash-strapped holidaymakers won’t pay – unless Liz Truss “changes its business patronage”. ” He promised swift action.

“We can’t refer anyone who wants to book their vacation next summer because we can’t rate them,” he says.

But we are looking to more than double our prices. If we do that, we don’t expect anyone to be able to afford it because everyone’s costs go up. We will have paper rates and no business.

“Now we have to look at not opening next year – it’s closed for at least a year. Given the huge increase in energy costs overnight, we have no choice but to put it on the table. Not opening would be cheaper than opening.”

Truss has campaigned as a pro-business leader, such as the recent scrapping of national insurance increases and corporation tax rises, as well as promising business rate reforms to win over Tory MPs.

Responding to Truss’ appointment, Sir Rocco Forte, the Brexiteer hotel owner and Tory donor who lashed out at Boris Johnson earlier this year, said: “From what I’ve seen of her, Liz Truss is a very determined person and she has a very clear idea of ​​what to do. I am very hopeful.”

“Obviously, I think she needs to address the cost of living and labor,” Fort added. She said she would cut taxes and I want to see how she does that.

We have spent many years discussing similar policies and seeing very little progress. It’s time for something new.

“The state of the country and the world makes it very difficult to accelerate that. She also indicated that she would be looking at regulatory oversight, which makes sense.

For the UK’s 5.5m small businesses, the most pressing issue is undoubtedly rising energy costs. Truss declined to announce what she would do to combat rising energy bills during her campaign, promising to reveal her plans by the end of her first week in office, but she is reportedly looking at a freeze on some energy bills.

“We’re looking for you to do something about energy bills, even halving it would be a £60,000 annual increase – absolutely killer,” says Adams.

“There’s little point in cutting National Insurance because if we don’t open next year we won’t have workers to pay anyway.” And it will take a year to get in with the tax cuts, and then we can have any problems.

Last week, the British Chambers of Commerce published its proposals, including emergency energy aid for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), reducing VAT to 5% and ending the NI increase.

On Monday, the Institute for Export and International Trade called on Truss to urgently set up a task force to help micro, small and medium-sized businesses deal with issues such as rising energy prices.

“The challenge now is to deliver big and bold action to address the scale of the crisis, which threatens the survival of many small companies and the jobs, livelihoods and communities that depend on them,” said National Chairman Martin McTague. Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

“Small businesses are clamoring for a comprehensive response that cuts taxes, limits revolving accounts and provides direct funding to small businesses.”

Adams said Barra Beach Hotel is enduring its worst year in the 16 years he has owned the business. The hotel has endured a 19-month closure during the coronavirus pandemic, thanks to government support schemes, and its current occupancy rate of less than 50% is unsustainable without further support.

Tony Danker, chief executive of the Confederation of British Industry, said: “This may not be the pandemic, but the exceptional circumstances we now face mean that the government must play a central role in supporting our economy.”

Trudeau’s rival Rishi Sunak, who won by 20,000 votes more than expected, criticized her unfunded plans as a threat to the UK economy.

Danker said: “If we are serious about getting the UK growing again, we need a serious plan for growth, ensuring that any slowdown is short and shallow.”


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