Pub, restaurant and business owners are being forced to close their doors as the crippling cost of living crisis continues to take hold over the country.
Small businesses in particular have been unable to cope with the soaring cost of energy and food bills – and are now calling for immediate government intervention.
It comes as inflations hit double figures for the first time in 40 years, the highest it’s been since 1982, at 10.1 per cent.
Now, an estimated 45 million people will struggle to pay energy bills this winter with predicted rises in price cap.
The new study, by the University of York, shows that 18 million families will be left trying to make ends meet after further predicted rises in the energy price cap in October and January.
Martin McTague, the national chair of the Federation of Small Businesses, has warned that the ‘toxic cocktail’ of rising taxes, energy costs, inflation and shrinking economic growth means ‘action is needed right now’.
‘The cost of living crisis can’t be solved without addressing the cost of doing business crisis,’ he said.
Yorkshire restaurant boss, Marco Di Rienzo has been forced to close his business after five years because of a £2,000 monthly bill.
The upmarket Italian restaurant, Santoni, on Airedale Road, Keighley remains popular, but with the worsening cost of living crisis and rising prices in general, Mr Di Rienzo has been left with no choice.
‘The main factor is what’s coming ahead,’ he told Yorkshire Live.
‘I think there is a tough year or two ahead….with higher food prices, gas and electricity.’
With his business facing rising gas and electric bills of up to 40%, the monthly bill would be rising from roughly £1,200 a month in the summer to £1,800, he said.
Winter monthly bills would be closer to £2,000.
Food bills for the restaurant are also reaching crippling levels, says Mr Di Rienzo. Since March, a 20-litre drum of vegetable oil had risen from about £20 to £42.
Imported Italian mozzarella cheese had also gone up from £6 per kilo to more than £7 and San Marzano tomatoes had gone up from around £8.70 to £11.20 per kilo.
The owner of a tea room in Derbyshire also has fears her business may close unless she gets more support to cope with soaring energy bills.
Clare Ransom said the electricity bill for Railway Tea Rooms, in Belper, Derbyshire, had increased by 254 per cent to £415 a month.
The prices of some food items had also increased drastically, she said.
Ms Ransom said she was worried she could lose her home if she was forced to shut down her business.
She told BBC Derby: ‘[The electricity bill] has gone up 254%, which is ridiculous, and that’s just the electric – I’ve not had the gas increase yet.
‘I physically cannot afford to pay £415 a month just for my electric.’
‘I’m extremely worried and I just don’t know how I’m going to carry on.
‘I’m scared I’m going to lose my house in the end because of it all.’
Ms Ransom said the government ‘needs to do something to help us’, adding the lack of support has been a ‘disgrace’.