Inflation hits 9%: “It feels like we’ve gone backwards 50 years” say small business owners


In light of the inflation data published this morning, a number of small business owners from around the UK share their thoughts:

Kate Ashwell, owner of Bristol-based vintage clothes retailer, Ashwell & Co: “Inflation is destroying our business. There has been a drastic drop in our sales and bookings over the past month or so. Having fought our way through the pandemic, it’s incredibly deflating. We are absolutely exhausted and our emotional and financial resources are low. The financial crisis we’re in is yet another thing small businesses are having to face, but this time there is no help from the Government. The current situation is potentially far more damaging longer term for our business. The Government needs to do more to ease the pressures on household incomes and ensure the economy starts moving again otherwise many small businesses, like ours, won’t make it through.”


Jamie Rackham, founder of UK Facebook group, Not on Amazon, which has 193k small independent makers as members: “Inflation hitting 9% is absolutely devastating to millions of people and small independent businesses. Eye of the Tiger was number one in 1982 when inflation was last this high and now we’re in the eye of the storm. The Government is doing nowhere near enough to support working people, while at the same time lets giant corporations avoid paying the taxes they should. Many of our members feel totally abandoned, with prices of raw materials, energy and their own living costs rising at an unprecedented rate. In the meantime, big businesses, which can afford to slash their prices, get bigger and the small independents are squeezed like never before. The post-pandemic financial crisis is really starting to take hold.”


Stewart Morton-Collings, owner at For Me and For You Designs“We’re a small family business and have weathered many storms over the past 10 years but the current situation is unlike anything we’ve ever seen. By the end of this year, our energy costs at home and in the business will be bigger than our mortgage and rent for our workshop, while raw material costs have shot up. At the moment, we’re not sure where this additional money will come from. Our food bills have gone through the roof so we’ve started to use charities who distribute out of date food. We walk or cycle as a family, cutting down our use of our car and van. We’ve drastically reduced our energy consumption, but all these measures won’t be enough to get us through. Our only option is to work seven days a week, every week, with no breaks. Holidays, gifts, treats for the kids have all been forgotten. It feels like we’ve gone backwards 50 years.”


Gillian Colley, designer at Peterborough-based jeweller, Paper2Pearls: “As a person living with a disability, inflation is causing me sleepless nights, every night. I know many others are experiencing the same thing. Fuel and energy bill rises are the worst, as I need to keep my house warm and I am also dependent on my car. Almost everything costs more. The Government is displaying a complete lack of empathy and understanding of how the current financial crisis is affecting ordinary people. My online sales are down as buying jewellery is a treat rather than a necessity.”


Natalie Fletcher, owner of Manchester-based micro manufacturer, Mancmade“As a small business owner and single parent, inflation is putting an unbelievable pressure on me. I am the sole earner and the fact consumers have less disposable income to spend is devastating. With fuel and energy costs at record highs, my business is taking a beating, especially as I work from home and provide mobile services. I’ve had to limit the amount of deliveries I provide due to mega-high fuel costs. This government is doing nowhere near enough to support people and small businesses during the current financial crisis. All they are doing is putting more pressure on businesses, many of which were only born during the pandemic.”

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