Soaring energy bills are threatening to put six in 10 British manufacturers out of business, according to a survey that lays bare the extent of the crisis facing the next prime minister.
MakeUK, the lobby group for UK factories, said that nearly half of manufacturers have experienced a jump in electricity bills of more than 100% in the past year.
“The current crisis is leaving businesses facing a stark choice,” the report said. “Cut production or shut up shop altogether if help does not come soon.”
The UK’s new prime minister will be announced on Monday, with Liz Truss expected to beat Rishi Sunak, her rival in the Conservative Party leadership race. The government is under intense pressure to announce a wider package of support to help consumers and businesses cope with an unprecedented surge in global energy costs.
Britain’s factory sector is already in decline, according to a purchasing managers’ index published by S&P Global this week. MakeUK’s survey said that 13% of factories now have reduced hours of operation or are avoiding peak periods, while 7% are halting production for longer stretches.
“Emergency action is needed by the new government,” said Stephen Phipson, MakeUK’s chief executive officer. “We are already lagging behind our global competitors.”