Cost of living crisis: Businesses in urgent plea for help as bills rocket

A storm of soaring energy bills and rising costs are forcing businesses across the West Midlands into changes they do not want to make.

Struggles being faced by clubs and pubs have been well documented, but the fallout of rising energy bills is all-encompassing, hitting virtually all sectors.

One of those affected is Brigstock Dairies, a private family business which delivers fresh milk using its all-electric fleet of milk floats in Kingswinford.

The business has been going for some 50 years and has thousands of people who rely on them for deliveries locally.

But amidst the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, the company has seen its weekly running costs rise from £1,000 to £4,000.

Director Andrew Brigstock, said: "We need some certainty, we need some help from the Government. Is there a cap coming for business as well as households? We just don’t know."

Mr Brigstock isn't the only person who has called for certainty, with Acorns Children’s Hospice's interim CEO, Matt Bullock, asking for more details on government support to enable them the plan for the future.

He said: “We care for around 700 children with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions and their families every year and research shows that these families will typically experience energy costs double the rate of other households.

“This is due to a number of reasons. For example, the lifesaving equipment families use that is powered by electricity. Also, children with complex care needs may get colder quicker, or have health conditions that mean they cannot regulate their body temperature.”

In other sectors, West Midlands Safari Park has reported increases in energy costs.

A spokesperson for the park said: “We have seen a significant rise in our energy bills, with them doubling in the last year alone, leading to the expectation that they would do the same for 2023. We welcome the support of the price cap to get us through the winter months, but it will remain a concern following those six months.

“Animal welfare remains our top priority and all of our animals, from the elephants to the reptiles, need their habitats heated and lit, 24 hours a day in some cases.”

Particularly worrying is the effect the rising prices are having on hospices and the families they support.

The calls for certainty come as sources suggest the much anticipated "fiscal event" to set out Government funding for a set of major interventions in the cost-of-living crisis will be delivered by the Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, next Friday.

Politics as normal has been largely put on hold during the 10-day period of mourning for the Queen, which lasts until her funeral on Monday.

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