Naseem Shah, Labour MP for Bradford West, recently asked Rishi Sunak, the (now former) Chancellor of the Exchequer, what he was doing to help her consituent whose business energy bill had risen from £10,731.70 in January 2021 to £48,694.56 in January 2022, a rise of 353% in just 12 months. Sunak could only reference the Intensive Energy Industry Support Scheme, which, while it helps large breweries and steel mills for example, does nothing whatsoever to help small businesses like the one Naz Shah was talking about.
There are now, literally, thousands of small businesses on the brink of insolvency due to the astronomic rise in electricity and gas bills. Small businesses employ 13 million people in UK and they have long been forgotten by successive UK Governments. Even during the pandemic lockdowns, the “bounceback loans” which were schemes thought up by Rishi Sunak to help small businesses, were denied to sole traders and partnerships while over £5 billion was lost to fraudsters and scammers. The scheme guaranteed £47 billion in bank loans, £17 billion of which will never be returned.
I seriously doubt there will be much help for small businesses from this Government. Working tax credit has been cut to the bone and with a £2.5 trillion National Debt to service, we’ve probably seen the last of any large fiscal stimulus to help the economy grow. I suspect thousands of businesses will go bust over the coming six months as the UK heads into, what is looking like, certain recession.