SMEs struggling with rising operating costs, says FSB

Operating costs for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are now “at their highest in four years,” according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

The comments come from FSB chairman Mike Cherry, in reaction to the latest data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

In recent days, the ONS has reported that the rate of inflation in the UK hit 2.9 per cent last month – representative of a 0.2 per cent rise over the 2.7 per cent recorded in April.

Commentators have noted that both figures are well above the Bank of England’s inflation rate target of two per cent.

According to Mr Cherry, the rise will put pressure on small businesses all across the country that are “still reeling from the business rates revaluation that took effect in April.”

He added that businesses were “also under pressure from spiralling employment and utility costs.”

He said: “Small business owners and their staff are having to personally absorb these hikes and have less and less room to invest for growth. Support is urgently needed.

“With all these cost pressures, now is certainly not the time to revisit the Government’s failed proposal to hike national insurance rates on the UK’s 4.8 million self-employed,” he added.