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Rising business energy costs affect 40%

40% of businesses say rising energy costs have affected their growth

Businesses are worried about the security and cost of energy in the future, and government policies designed to help them may not be hitting the mark, according to the findings of a survey of 3,500 companies by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

On the subject of the security of our future energy supply, 59% of large businesses, 44% of medium-sized businesses and 38% of small businesses said that they are already worried about the issue.

Indeed 90% of businesses of all sizes said that they believe that the UK requires a diverse energy mix if we’re going to avoid running out of energy in the future.

When it comes to cost, nearly 40% said that they feel that rising costs have adversely affected their growth. Our own Business Energy Barometer found that 90% of businesses believe that if energy prices were to continue to rise by 15% every year it would have an impact on their business, while 7% would expect they would be forced to shut down completely.

Businesses also don’t foresee that current government policy brings all the answers as although 56% think government initiatives to increase energy efficiency are positive, less than 30% support the CRC Energy Efficiency scheme and over 60% are completely unaware of the Green Deal and its potential benefits for UK business investment.

Dr Adam Marshall, Director of Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Secure energy supplies are vital for the future wellbeing of the UK economy. No business can succeed unless the UK has energy policies and an energy market that deliver affordability, certainty and security.

“Energy security is one of the most profound challenges facing the UK and government energy policies require clarity and consistency to ensure that it meets the challenge. This requires the creation of an energy market that will deliver a diverse energy mix, at reasonable cost to businesses. The UK should not find itself in a situation where it becomes more dependent on fossil fuels from overseas or on one technology at home. To create such a market, the government must provide more certainty for investors than it has in the past.

“As the government embarks on far reaching reforms, it must also ensure that policy changes do not mean excessive costs for business. We are concerned that once the carbon floor price comes into force, it will increase costs for all businesses and negatively impact on the competitiveness of the UK. During a difficult economic time policies should not be considered that negatively affect the affordability of energy for businesses.

“We have seen unending media coverage on rising energy costs on households, followed by political pledges to take action. Business energy needs and costs deserve the same attention, because ever rising energy costs mean fewer jobs and less investment.”

Clearly education as well as action is needed in the business energy market to relieve the environmental and commercial burdens facing UK busine

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