Budget commentary

“For many businesses that have already weathered the storms brought by Brexit, Covid-19, rising inflation and soaring interest rates, the end of the Energy Bill Relief Scheme could be ‘the final nail in the coffin.’

“Our data from the first few months of this year indicates businesses are already struggling with cash flow. We’ve received a growing number of claims for late and failed payments across all sectors, but particularly in the retail, construction, and food sectors, and last year claims were up by a staggering 85% across the board. It’s unlikely that businesses in these sectors, particularly the SMEs that will struggle the most to absorb these costs, will be able to benefit significantly from the limited support available, so we’re likely to see insolvencies hit pre-covid highs over the coming months.

“To protect themselves, businesses need to ensure they are actively managing rising costs and protecting the bottom line if they want to remain operational. There have been some welcome signs that pressure is easing with interest rates and inflation rises slowing, but there’s no doubt that the next few months will be challenging.”

Tanya Giles, Head of SME Business, Atradius UK