Scottish businesses concerned with energy costs and business rates

Scottish businesses concerned with energy costs and business rates

Martin Bell

Rising energy costs are the biggest concern for a quarter of Scottish businesses this autumn and winter, according to new research by accountancy and business advisory firm BDO.

The bi-monthly survey of 500 leaders of medium-sized businesses reveals that a further 22% are worried about business rates.

Against this backdrop, 41% of employers are offering their employees support with childcare, such as vouchers or a workplace ‘creche’. A quarter of Scotland’s mid-sized businesses are offering more remote working to help employees reduce personal costs such as travel.

According to the research, 22% of businesses surveyed say that the current energy and cost of living crisis has or will be more challenging to them than the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent recession, the COVID-19 pandemic or Brexit.

Faced with this tough economic environment, businesses are calling for further support from the government to counteract these difficulties with 27% seeking support with access to more labour.

Martin Bell, partner at BDO, said: “Energy costs are cause for concern across the board and for some businesses, the expected spike in business rates in line with inflation is set to be a double blow.

“Even with these challenges, businesses are stepping in to support employees however they can.

“Ahead of an Autumn Statement and Scottish Budget, companies are calling for certainty and the right, targeted support. Beyond this, Scottish businesses will be keen to see Scotland’s response to any measures announced which could also set the tone for the Scottish Budget later this year.

“These businesses are the engine of the economy, and the pressure is on Government to provide the interventions that businesses need to drive their growth.”

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