Businesses positive about news of easing of coronavirus restrictions, but not so about inflation
Katrina Pierce, the Lincolnshire development manager for the Federation of Small Businesses said: “The news that we are to move from Plan B and its various limitations and requirements back to Plan A will be positively received by Lincolnshire’s small business owners today.
“It shows we are moving in the right direction away from restrictions and barriers to working normally, and we certainly hope this really is the final wind down of all limits on trading.”
However, she pointed to further announcements from the Office for National Statistics on Wednesday which showed the price of food costs and energy bills drove inflation to 5.4 per cent in the 12 months to December, the highest since it shot to 7.1 per cent in March 1992.
Analysts have warned there is worse to come with gas and electricity costs set to rise by another 50% in the spring as a government price cap is set to be revised.
Further research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies also suggested average pay rises are failing to keep up with the rising cost of living.
“Today’s announcement does come against a challenging backdrop for SMEs in the county,” said Katrina.
“Just this morning we found that the cost of inflation is at a 30-year high, which means costs on everything is escalating.
“Small businesses are also facing volatility in energy costs, difficulties sourcing labour and a range of stock and supply issues.
She said “all eyes will be on the Chancellor” in a few weeks time hoping that he will deliver a “pro small business budget”.
“But for today, it’s good to know this time next week we will be out of restrictions that affect how we live, work and socialise,” she said.