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The 'cost of doing business crisis' making life tough for south Lincolnshire firms

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South Lincolnshire businesses are facing a ‘critical’ time in their recovery from Covid - as cost pressures take their toll on our firms.

Katrina Pierce, Lincolnshire development manager for the Federation of Small Business, said our small firms are facing a tough time ahead due to spiralling costs.

The FSB is calling this the ‘cost of doing business crisis’ - and say it is holding back the chance of post-Covid growth.

Spalding town centre (55865339)
Spalding town centre (55865339)

Katrina explained: “I think we are at a critical time in recovery from Covid and the fundamental fact is that it’s never been more expensive to run a business day to day.

“Business owners across the county are feeling intense pressure in the cost of running business.”

She said that while households are getting some help - with an energy rebate - there’s nothing similar in the pipeline for businesses.

She added: “There’s no support for businesses. We are pressing for that but that’s not been forthcoming.”

The FSB would like to see measures that would ease energy bills rises - as well as the increased cost of recruiting and employing staff - with wages and labour shortage issues now long-standing factors in this area.

Nationally, the FSB is calling for a ‘small business summer’ - asking for support from policymakers and consumers.

Katrina said: “For every pound you spend in Spalding town centre, say, 63p will stay in the local economy through business rates or pay for staff who then spend that locally.

“Jobs are dependent on small businesses doing well. So many of us are employed by them - it’s in everyone’s interest to shop locally where we can.

“We need them to still be there and get through what ought to be the ‘roaring twenties’ by now.”

A combination of Covid, the general cost of living crisis and the knock-on effect of the war in Ukraine on supply chains is all making life tough for traders.

Katrina said this ‘undercurrent’ is fuelling cost pressures and makes it hard to feel too confident about the months ahead.

She added: “There will be light at the end of the tunnel but I think it’s a tricky 12-18 months ahead.”

The FSB has released its latest Small Business Index - and local experts are now going through the data to determine the trends for our area.

Nationally almost half of small firms do not expect to grow over the coming year.

Confidence is highest in firms in the accommodation and food sector (+16.5) and those engaged in information and communication activities (+32.1).

By contrast, manufacturing (-9.1) and wholesale and retail (-8.2) firms report negative readings as surging operating costs, supply chain disruption, labour shortages and consumer belt-tightening weigh on expansion plans.

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