The Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce has called for the Government to do more to support businesses after one of its members reported that it will be hit with a 365 per cent increase in energy bills.
Charlesworth, a Wakefield based printing company that works with a number of international clients and delivers its services worldwide, underlined the severity of the situation.
Managing director and owner Mark Gray said: “We are in a really tough situation. The costs just keep on rising and soon we will be losing money simply as a result of coming to work and switching the lights on.”
Charlesworth’s energy bill for last year was just under £132,000, but its renewal price is being quoted at over £612,000, a 365 per cent rise.
He continued: “I cannot understand how businesses are expected to simply absorb these astronomical costs.
“It is unethical for a business to sign a contract that it cannot pay, as it would leave them vulnerable legally and financially.
“However, the out of contract rates we’re being quoted are even higher, which has put us between a rock and a hard place. We are currently undergoing negotiations and I hope that we can come to some sort of a resolution with our providers.
“My concern is that the Government is taking action to support households, but there is no similar support available for businesses.
“In my eyes, there is no point supporting households through this crisis if the same crisis is threatening their jobs and livelihoods through the businesses that pay their wages.
“These unbearable costs are not only affecting the management and finance departments, but they are also affecting every single one of the 54 staff that we employ.
“We are hoping to reach a resolution in the coming days, but I know there will be many other firms going through the exact same situation that can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“The Government is seemingly keen to back British manufacturing, but these energy prices are hitting manufacturers the hardest, especially after the struggles of Brexit and Covid.
“These types of firms will generally use more energy than a standard office-based business – that’s just the nature of the game – but we cannot continue like this if the costs just keep on rising.
“As an industry, we need urgent support.”
Martin Hathaway, managing director of the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “As an organisation that exists to represent its members, we stand with Mark and the many other business leaders who are no doubt in the same position.
“I am astounded that there is no support available for firms amid these spiralling costs. Especially following the Chancellor’s Spring Budget, in which there was nothing to support business suffering with these pressures.
“This would have been the perfect time for Government to step up and truly back British business.
“So many businesses will be in precarious positions following the impact of the pandemic, and will still be recovering strategically, productively and financially.
“I urge the Government to rethink its approach. Businesses are drowning in these unrealistic costs and urgently need a lifeline.
“The numbers we are seeing simply aren’t affordable and British business will suffer if help doesn’t come.”
The Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce connects, supports and represents businesses across the Halifax, Huddersfield and Wakefield regions.