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‘The energy crisis is worse than the pandemic – I’m having to close my business’



“It’s worse than the pandemic. There was a lot more support then and it opened people’s minds to living more mindfully and investing in themselves,” he said. “Now, people don’t know how bad this energy crisis will get and they can’t see the way through it.”

Mr Claxton, who started his business in 2017, said he will be forced to close down if the crisis intensifies. “People are starting to hold back on spending and it is crippling my business because I’m losing clients,” he said.

The entrepreneur said he would struggle to support his three children if the decline continued and he may have no choice but to return to work in retail.

Martin McTague, of the Federation of Small Businesses, a trade body, said small businesses faced an “existential threat” due to spiralling energy costs. There had already been a “hefty” increase in the number of insolvencies, but the situation would get “even more desperate” later in the year.

“The situation they face is dire and likely to get worse. Our members are telling us they are already struggling to cope with energy price hikes, which are often four or five times what they were previously paying,” he added.

Because they are not protected by the price cap, businesses are more exposed to sharp rises in energy prices. A firm that fixed its energy price for two years from October 2020 will face a five-fold jump in costs in two months’ time, analysts at Cornwall Insight forecast.

One entrepreneur feeling the pinch due to her energy-intensive profession is Rach Warley, 33, from Newcastle, who runs a beauty business. Ms Warley said winter would be “hell” and her business was no longer viable enough to see her through.

She said: “Customers are dropping like flies and my income halved this summer. I’m only booked for one to two days a week and it’s not enough for me and my teenage daughter to live on.”



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