Energy crisis could push nearly nearly half of SMEs over the edge

Almost 47% of UK SMEs will find it difficult to pay their energy bills from April onwards, new poll shows

Big Zero Report 2022

Nearly half of UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) say it will be difficult to pay their energy bills when the government support ends.

That’s according to a new survey by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) survey which shows that 37% of businesses predict they will find it difficult to pay even when they are in receipt of the support given through the Energy Bill Relief scheme.

The survey also suggests that almost 4% say they will not be able to pay their energy bills at all.

The BCC has warned if this is replicated on a national level, it could mean that nearly 220,000 small and medium businesses would be in danger.

According to the polling, more than four-in-ten SMEs disagreed that tariffs available the last time they renewed their contract were “affordable”.

A further 29% of British SMEs said a range of tariff options was not available, while almost 24% admitted that it was not easy for them to change energy suppliers.

Commenting on the findings, Shevaun Haviland, Director General of the BCC, said: “Energy costs are the number one business concern, with 55% of firms saying it should be a top priority for the new Prime Minister.

The Chancellor is expected to present his Autumn Statement on Thursday, with analysts predicting that the fiscal plan will include a harsh package of tax rises and spending cuts.

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