Rising overheads will force local stores out of business, according to Scottish NFRN president Ferhan Ashiq.

Multi-site retailer Ashiq, based in East Lothian, stated that recent hikes in energy prices, coupled with forthcoming increases in the minimum wage and associated employers contributions, will have devastating effects on small businesses.

Ashiq’s renewal electricity contract went up from “£19,500 to £45,000”, making it increasingly difficult to continue trading.

He said: “The renewal price for my electricity contract went up from £19,500 to £45,000, and when you add on all the other extra costs it’s becoming more and more difficult to keep trading.

Shop forced to close due to rising energy bills

“Other retailers have contacted me to say they have the same concerns. Businesses in general are going to start failing this year unless something is done about energy prices.”

Ashiq outlined the further costs of closing your business, he said: “On top of everything else, there is the added burden of closure costs, with penalties for early termination of other contracts.

“When someone is closing down their business due to factors beyond their control, their closing expenditure should be minimalised by legislation. It adds financial burdens and mental health issues upon that particular individual.”

Shop’s energy bill doubles overnight

After meeting with the Scottish Labour Party leader Anas Sarwar MSP and his local MSP Martin Whitfield, Ashiq discussed the problems facing retailers and other small business, ahead of the by-elections in East Lothian.

Commenting on his discussion with Whitfield, “He explained that the Scottish government has limited powers at their disposal on the issue of rising energy prices and that it is a matter reserved for Westminister,” Ashiq said.

“Whitfield suggested raising these points at the meeting with Daniel Johnson MSP on February 24 to eke out a strategy.”

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