Petrol costs force East Midlands firms off the road

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THE rising cost of fuel over the past 12 months has led to 22 per cent of businesses in the East Midlands reducing the number of car journeys in order to save money.

Research by the UK’s leading invoice finance specialist, Bibby Financial Services, reveals that the region’s 307,028 small and medium-sized businesses are collectively paying on average £6million more on fuel today compared to 12 months ago.

The findings highlight the extent to which rising fuel costs have impacted on businesses in the East Midlands and what actions have been taken to absorb the costs.

As well as cutting time spent on the road, 31 per cent of businesses surveyed in the region say they have to make savings in other areas of the business to fund the extra cost of fuel.

The Bibby Financial Services research calculated the number of small and medium-sized businesses in the East Midlands and how much fuel is consumed at average prices, which revealed a total of £45.1million will be spent this year based on current rates, compared to £39.1million in 2010.

Bibby Financial Services’ spokesperson for the East Midlands Dave Webb, says: “Our research demonstrates the impact that rising fuel costs are having on businesses in the East Midlands and the difficult decisions they are facing.

“Increasing fuel prices have caused firms in the region to make tough decisions on how to absorb the costs. Although passing on extra fuel costs could potentially lose customers, some businesses have very few options.

“We have seen recently from our own Business Factors Index that there is greater optimism in the region, with sectors such as manufacturing going from strength to strength and firms reporting an increase in new customers, which is very positive news. That is why it is so important that the progress being made isn’t hampered by fuel costs.

“Bibby Financial Services provides businesses a flexible source of funding to alleviate financial pressures, including rising fuel prices, so they can concentrate on running and developing the business.”