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'It's cheaper to close': Businesses urge Liz Truss to act swiftly on skyrocketing bills | Small Business

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Guy Adams, who has run the Isle of Barra Beach Hotel in the Hebrides for 16 years, may be forced to close his doors to guests for at least a year as high electricity prices put him out of business.

Annual electricity bills for hoteliers are projected to rise from around £25,000 to £120,000, adding to the expected wave of price increases from suppliers facing rising costs.

He said Britain’s westernmost boutique hotel would have to double the prices it charges guests next year unless Liz Truss turns her into a ‘professional business’. ” We promise to act quickly.

“I can’t quote anyone trying to book next summer’s vacation because I can’t give you a rate,” he says.

“But it looks like we’ll have to more than double the fees. If we do, I don’t think anyone can afford it given the rising costs for everyone.” I have a paper rate and no business.

“We should consider not opening next year, which means closing for at least a year. .”

Mr. Truss has campaigned as a pro-business leader on promises such as abandoning the recent National Insurance premium hike and plans to raise corporate taxes, and he has also cut the business tax rate to win Tory membership. promised reform.

Taxes and energy rationing: Truss and Sunak disagree at final Tory leadership meeting – video

In response to Truss’ appointment, Sir Rocco Forte, the Brexit hotelier and Tory donor who attacked Boris Johnson earlier this year, said: to what she has to do. I have high hopes. ”

Forte adds: She says she’s going to cut her taxes.

“After years of seeing the same policies being discussed and little growth, it’s time for something new.

“The conditions in which this country, and indeed the world, are in make it very difficult to accelerate.

The most pressing problem for the UK’s 5.5 million SMEs is undoubtedly rising energy costs. During the election, Truss consistently refused to say how it would deal with rising energy prices, promising to reveal plans within a week of taking office, but calling for a freeze on some energy prices. reportedly under consideration.

“We’re hoping she’ll do something about the electricity bill. Even if we cut the rise in half, it’s still an increase of £60,000 a year. That’s a killer,” says Adams.

“It makes little sense to cut the National Insurance because if we don’t open next year, we won’t have staff to pay the premiums anyway. .”

Last week, the British Chamber of Commerce announced proposals that included an emergency energy subsidy for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), a temporary VAT reduction to 5% and the abolition of the NI increase.

On Monday, the Exports and International Trade Institute called on the truss to immediately set up a task force to assist small businesses on issues such as rising energy costs.

“The challenge now is to take big and bold action to match the scale of the crisis that threatens the survival of many small businesses and the jobs, livelihoods and communities that depend on them.” Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) .

“Small businesses are calling for a comprehensive response that cuts taxes, limits ballooning bills and provides direct cash assistance to small businesses.”

Adams says the Barra Beach Hotel is having its worst year in the 16 years he’s owned the business. The hotel survived a 19-month closure during the coronavirus pandemic thanks to government support schemes, but his current less than 50% occupancy rate cannot be sustained without further assistance.

“This may not be a pandemic, but the exceptional circumstances we are currently facing mean that governments must play a central role in supporting our economy. said Tony Dunker, Secretary General of the Confederation of British Industry.

Truss’ rival Rishi Sunak lost by nearly 20,000 votes more than expected, but criticized her unfunded plan as posing a risk to the UK economy already headed for recession. is doing.

Mr Dunker said: “We need a serious plan for growth if we are to ensure that the slowdown is short and shallow and if we are serious about re-growth in the UK.”