Scottish small firms face £1.5m fuel price rise

Picture: PA
Picture: PA
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The cost of fuel for small businesses has rocketed by £1.5 million in the last month alone, putting more pressure on their survival.

Now they are expected to step up pressure on Chancellor George Osborne to rethink his planned 3p a litre rise in August.

While average petrol prices have reached record levels at £1.40 a litre, a study by Bibby Financial Services shows that the price increase at the pumps from January to February alone equated to the extra cost for Scotland’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The UK’s SME owners have seen fuel costs rise by an estimated £17.5m over the same period, taking the total that businesses pay for fuel to more than £2 billion.

The average monthly fuel consumption per person among SME businesses in Scotland has now reached £451, compared to £370 two years ago.

Bibby Financial Services carried out the research into the affect of high fuel prices on business costs following feedback from many of its 4,000 UK clients, who say they are feeling under increasing financial pressure.

David Matthewson, spokesman for Bibby in Scotland, said: “It is a real concern to us that businesses in Scotland have to shoulder rising running costs.

“There should be practical and direct measures taken by the government to bring down the costs of running a business, otherwise it is hard to see how SME owners in Scotland are going to start to move closer to economic recovery.”