We are seeing so much in the media about individual households being affected by the energy price crisis, and calls on government to help, but we know from first-hand, that businesses are affected too and community businesses are no exception.
From the conversations we are having with our members, we are hearing of energy bills rising by 150% – or more in some cases.
We understand it is not possible to simply pass on this cost to customers – they are already facing challenges relating to the general rise in cost of living, and it is a foundation of community businesses to ensure they are accessible and supporting those most at risk within their local communities.
Dipping into reserves to cover this cost is not an option for the majority – many community businesses, especially those newly trading, will have little or no reserve at all, and many will have exhausted their reserves to cover unanticipated costs during the pandemic.
The timing of this crisis couldn’t have come at a worse time. It is not just a period of increased costs and diminished reserves – we are hearing how staff and volunteers are fatigued following their extraordinary efforts during the pandemic, there are general shortages of staff and volunteers, and supply chain issues are ongoing as is the increasing costs of all goods and services.
With no certainty of how long these price rises will remain or even worsen, the viability of many community businesses will be questioned, and we are already hearing from community businesses which are planning to close for good or temporarily.