Westminster inaction will lead to ‘financial oblivion’ for businesses - Ben Lake MP
‘Furlough level of support needed for small businesses’ – Plaid Cymru
Plaid Cymru’s Treasury spokesperson, Ben Lake MP has today (Sunday 4 September) called for the incoming Prime Minister to implement a “furlough level of support” to support small businesses through the energy crisis.
The Ceredigion MP reiterated his party’s call to lower the price cap to pre-April levels and to extend it to small businesses and charities, who are currently not protected by any price cap.
Mr Lake said that inaction by the UK Government will lead to “financial oblivion” for small businesses. 99.4% of businesses in Wales are SMEs, providing for 62.6% of private sector employment in Wales. 95% of business in Wales are micro businesses, employing between 0-9 employees.
Mr Lake said that given the importance of small businesses to the Welsh economy, the new Prime Minister must recognise that “without the same level of support for businesses as was given during the pandemic, our economy will simply collapse.”
Ashley Hughes, the owner of a corner shop in Nefyn, Gwynedd, said that his monthly electricity bills are expected to increase from £605.70 to £2,877. 16p per unit. 78.p
Mr Hughes backed Plaid Cymru’s call saying that “without support from Westminster, towns like Nefyn will turn into ghost towns where no business will be able to stay open.”
Ben Lake MP said:
“Government paralysis over the summer means small businesses up and down the country are preparing for a grim winter. Our next Prime Minister – if polls are to be believed – has promised nothing to households or businesses who are facing financial oblivion in a matter of weeks.
“The absence of an energy price cap for businesses means that energy companies are exploiting small businesses to breaking point. While larger corporations can hedge against rising energy costs, smaller companies will have no option but to close due to unsustainable costs this winter.
“SMEs are the backbone of the Welsh economy. Without the same level of support for businesses as was given during the pandemic, our economy will simply collapse. We need a furlough-level of support, which is why Plaid Cymru is urging the UK Government to return the price cap to pre-April levels and to extend it to small businesses and charities.
“In the longer term, a mixture of grant and loan support is needed for SMEs to benefit more from renewable energy sources and energy efficiency measures. Without such measures, small businesses will continue to be disproportionately impacted by fluctuations in our unsustainable and unfair energy market.”
Ashley Hughes added:
“We are expecting our monthly electricity bills to increase from £605.70 to £2,877. That is a terrifying prospect that will be completely unaffordable for a small businesses like ours.
“Many small businesses in rural Wales are already struggling due to high costs. Without support from Westminster, towns like Nefyn will turn into ghost towns where no business will be able to stay open.
“I strongly urge the Prime Minister – be it Truss or Sunak – to adopt Plaid Cymru’s calls to lower the price cap and extend it to small businesses. Without such action, businesses like ours will struggle to ever recover.”