Spiralling energy costs will lead to a winter of disconnecting

Paul Clarke, chairman of Bournemouth Coastal BID.

Bournemouth Coastal BID is warning that surging energy costs could lead to the closure of businesses and hit the town’s tourist industry, causing irreparable harm.

With the holiday season coming to a close and winter looming, the soaring costs will create a ‘perfect storm’ that could hit some sectors harder than the Covid lockdowns did.

The Coastal BID is urging the government to intervene or face collapsing companies and increasing joblessness.

Its chairman Paul Clarke, who is also a hotelier, said: “Just as we were starting to get back to normal after the Covid lockdowns we are faced with something more damaging to business.

“Energy costs have spiralled and are now so great they simply wipe out profits and make businesses unsustainable.

“We are seeing pubs close daily and retail and hospitality businesses are teetering on the edge of a debt-created precipice.

“It is especially hard on hospitality and retailers because they were so affected in the town throughout the pandemic.

“During the lockdowns they were assisted by targeted government interventions. Help is required now for all businesses.

“We are coming out of the summer season and energy use will rise as temperatures dip – it is a perfect storm.

“Businesses are seeing energy costs rise by tens – or even hundreds – of thousands of pounds. It is totally unsustainable.

“With other BIDs we are actively lobbying the government to do something now. After all it is in their interests to have viable businesses paying taxes.

“We urge the new Prime Minister to make this their number one priority or we could be facing a winter of disconnecting.

“The government must also look at a long term solution enabling us to be energy self-sufficient.”

The Coastal BID represents businesses from Southbourne to Westbourne, an area that is heavily dominated by the hospitality and retail sectors.