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Nottingham businesses wonder if they are ‘strong enough to survive’ all the rising costs

todayApril 13, 2022 3

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Businesses in Nottingham have expressed their concerns about being “strong enough to survive” through rising financial rates and the cost of living crisis. It comes after the government have announced a higher energy price cap, a rise in national insurance and an increase in VAT. Owners of businesses in Nottingham city centre voiced their thoughts about these changes and called on the government to help.

Robert Freckingham, 43, owner of The Cheese Shop on Flying Horse Walk said they are making adjustments where they can. “Energy prices have gone up for the shop,” he said. “We have got a lot of refrigeration so obviously fridges are costing more to run. We have to make sure doors on fridges are shut and not left open while we are walking in and out.

“It makes a difference, if you can save a few quid, you can save a few quid. But we have got to eat, so hopefully as a business we will be fine and keep moving forward. We can’t move back.”

Read more: Details on when Nottinghamshire £150 tax rebate will be paid – and why some will receive £173

He added: “We have had the pandemic and furlough which was great for members of staff who had mortgages and things to pay. They were still getting money even though none of us were at work. We have got to pay it back and that’s the way. It has come quicker than it probably could have done but we can’t change that. The last three years have been turmoil and fingers crossed we can just carry on and get things as back to normal as quick as we can.

“There will be some that come and go on the high street, we are already seeing that. You just have to hope that you are strong enough to survive and keep people coming in through the door.”

Jill Perry, 58, from Nottingham and owner of gift shop Inspired said she was not overly worried but was keeping an eye on it. My overheads are very small and yes it will take a bit of profit out of the business, but electricity is the only thing I use. For me, I will basically be paying a bit more on my lights.

“It’s going to be nibbles rather than chunks because I am so small. It will be interesting to see what affect it does have on the overall profit because we are all in the dark. We don’t know.

“We know there is an energy increase, but we still don’t really know what it is going to do. I got a bill yesterday and it looked about the same.”

Jill says that customers are still buying non-essential items from her shop but understands that her customers are usually people with disposable income.

She said: “I probably don’t see the people who are really struggling because they will not use money on this when they are wondering whether they can heat or eat.”

Jill added: “I understand that during covid we were all helped out and we knew at the time that there is no such thing as a free lunch. It was always going to come back somehow. But the government need to be fairer with the way that they do reclaim money back.

“[They need to] look at how they can help the people who are on the edge and don’t worry about the people that aren’t.

“I’m sure there are ways of helping but unfortunately as with governments they do not like to annoy the rich. But I think a lot of well off people could take a bit of annoying.”

Mica Dunbar, 26, manager of Behind the Red Door boutique has noticed people do not have as much disposable income. She said: “People are not impulse buying as much just because they do not have the funds because everything is going up.

“Parking in Nottingham and transport to get into Nottingham is not very cheap so I think that has an affect on it to. But for us personally shopping we have noticed a slight increase from wholesalers but overall, it is not too bad so far.”

Mica, from Mapperley, was most concerned about the rising VAT : “That will be something we will see and I will probably see across the shop floor when we are buying stock. We already start to think about Christmas and a lot of shops do start buying things for Christmas already so with the rise in VAT I think it will definitely make a difference across the shop.”

Regarding what the government could do, Mica said: “I think just for the businesses that are struggling and the smaller businesses they managed to do quite well through the furlough scheme, for us anyway, so they can obviously put the support out there.

“I think they need to carry on with more support for the small businesses otherwise they will lose them and a lot have already been lost through the pandemic. Some financial support would really help a lot of businesses.”

The latest GDP figures show that there has been a significant slowdown in economic growth, from 0.8% in January to 0.1% in February.

East Midlands Chamber chief executive Scott Knowles said: “The concern is that February’s slowdown will likely be the start of a prolonged period of considerably weaker growth as rising inflation, surging energy bills and a crisis in the cost of doing business damage key drivers of UK output, including consumer spending and business investment.”

He added: “The Government must provide urgent financial support through the expansion of the energy bills rebate scheme to include small firms and energy-intensive businesses, as well as introducing an SME energy price cap to protect smaller firms from some of the price increases.”

Written by: thehitnetwork

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