UK firms most worried about soaring costs and energy bills

A fifth of companies cited rising energy bills as a main concern. Photo: Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty
A fifth of companies cited rising energy bills as a main concern. Photo: Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty

The number of British businesses concerned about soaring energy bills and input costs has risen, a new survey from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found.

According to the ONS 26% of companies reported input price inflation as their main concern for August 2022, and 20% reported energy prices.

Its economic activity and social change report showed the percentage of firms reporting no concerns declined from 24% in July to 21% next month, indicating that inflationary pressures are broadening.

Read more: Martin Lewis warns UK households face £3,500 energy bills in winter

One fifth of companies with at least 10 employees were hit by global supply chain disruption last month, while 16% of firms had to change suppliers or find alternative solutions to get the materials, goods or services they needed.

It comes as the Bank of England warned the UK economy is likely to slow to a crawl this year and in 2023 as consumers face the highest inflation in 40 years and many businesses face a squeeze on their profits.

That is on top of huge gas and electricity tariff increases, with the annual inflation rate standing at a record 70.2% and with further rises to come.

Average petrol prices stood at 184p a litre in June, up 18.1p since May alone, while diesel raced 12.7p higher to 192.4p a litre, which was also a record.

Read more: Inflation: A quarter of UK firms expecting to raise prices

There is also mounting concern over soaring energy costs, with consumers's annual energy bills expected to reach £3,500 by the end of the year when the energy price goes up again.

Separate analysis from the ONS showed found prices paid by factories for materials and energy were 24% higher last month than a year earlier — the biggest increase since records began in 1985 — while prices charged by factories jumped by 16.5%.

Meanwhile, one in every four firms in the UK said they are planning to raise prices further, because of to the rising cost of energy.

Watch: How does inflation affect interest rates?