A new survey shows that half of hospitality business owners are more worried about the cost of rising energy bills than they are about Brexit.
Some three quarters (70 per cent) of those surveyed have seen the cost of their energy supply rise by at least £100 per year, according to independent research commissioned by UTILITA ENERGY.
Its third annual Powering the UK High Street Report also found a third of owners (34 per cent) have been forced to make staff redundant to reduce the cost of running their business – with nearly half (49 per cent) reducing remaining workers’ hours to pay for their energy.
Other measures include keeping doors closed (83 per cent), leaving lights off during the day (81 per cent) and not switching the heating on (69 per cent).
Utilita CEO, Bill Bullen, said: “We commissioned our first annual Powering the High Street report in 2017 as we knew many venues found it hard and costly to engage with suppliers to find a better deal on energy.
“We’ve learned 68 per cent of small businesses surveyed overall do believe their provider gives them a fair deal. Let’s hope this is a sign of things to come.
“But there is a lot of work to do - it’s still concerning to see so many hospitality outlets worried about the cost of their energy rising and payment pressures and how this impacts their workforce.
“The country’s independent cafes, bars and restaurants have a lot to contend with in today’s uncertain economy as business rates continue to climb, margins are very tight and the power of the pound isn’t what it was – it is concerning that access to energy is such a huge concern for many.”