The huge hike in energy prices is beginning to have a devastating effect on many businesses as they struggle to cope with the rising bills from their energy providers. And Colin Neill, chief executive of Hospitality Ulster, has commented on these rising prices, saying that the crisis is even worse than the one brought upon us by Covid.
Restaurants Being Hit Badly By Energy Price Hikes
The prices are hitting the hospitality sector badly in particular as businesses such as restaurants use a high amount of energy. Things are not going to improve over the next few months it seems. Inflation is presently around 9.1% but is expected to rise even further to 11% before it shows signs of slowing down.
Colin Neill spoke about this situation to the Belfast Newsletter pointing out that a pizza oven which once cost around £100 a day to operate can now cost as much as £300 a day. He said:
“And how many pizzas can you sell on a Monday or a Tuesday? So guys are turning off their pizza ovens ‘cause they can’t make them viable.
“And every time the consumer’s energy costs go up, that’s less they have to spend.
“So we lose out both ways – our prices are getting pushed up, and our customers’ spending power is going down.
“A piece of codfish has gone up 120% in the last year. Chicken’s up I think somewhere around 50, 60%. Even mayo is up 40%.
“It’s the perfect storm. It’s worse than Covid. In Covid there was help, and we have to recognise the government help really worked. Now there’s no help.”
Energy Prices Seem Set To Rise Even Higher Causing More Heartache
And on the energy prices soaring ever higher he said that:
“It`s a building tsunami. It’s out at sea at the minute, taking out lone swimmers. But it’s heading everybody’s way.”
As the government helped out when the Covid-19 pandemic hit our shores it now seems the time to do so once more to help out with these rising energy bills. The present situation is simply not sustainable for many of the businesses across Northern Ireland, so if they do not step in now then we are likely to see a lot of excellent business establishments fold and that really would be a crying shame.
We may see that inflation will come down quite steeply in a few months time, but nobody can say this for sure, and anyway this will be too late to save many places. The government need to act and give some assistance otherwise there could e some very dark days ahead.