Open Letter to the UK Government

Dear Prime Minister,

Congratulations on your appointment today.

Nationally, since February 2021, we have experienced unprecedented increases in energy prices with estimates indicating that prices have increased to date more than 400%, with the UK braced for further increases as we navigate into the winter bringing more potential devastation to SME businesses. 

We understand that one of your first announcements will be to address the energy crisis. However, reflecting on the several draft proposals which have been widely shared, we strongly believe these do not go far enough. We call for immediate policy change to reflect the following;

1)  Reduction in VAT to 5% until the energy crisis is under control.

2) Introduce business rate rebates.

3) Re-Introduce a cap on energy price rises.  

4)Proactive launch of new decarbonisation and grant schemes to support SME’s to migrate to renewable and alternative energy sources.

Our high street has survived unprecedented challenges arising from the pandemic, and despite having not fully recovered we once again face an existential threat with the cost of energy having already resulted in many thousands of businesses to cease trading, with inevitable mass business failure if adequate and immediate action isn’t taken.

For example, one of our customers was quoted a 400% increase, with some finding it impossible even to source an energy provider. We are presently witnessing a perfect storm in which general inflationary increases and energy rises are resulting in significant cost increases in produce and supply in tandem with reduced spend as customers now have no alternative but to become more prudent when budgeting.

Epos Now is a global business headquartered in the UK, we support in excess of 55,000 SME customers through our platform with strong representation across the Hospitality and Retail sectors. Our customer base is made up of entrepreneurs that have started their own business, and continue to demonstrate resilience to create the  backbone of our economy.

ONS data showed that in 2018 there were 4,397,240 people employed by entrepreneurs across our high streets, which is equivalent to 14% of all employment.  So alongside the ethical and cultural implications of a failing high street the financial impacts cannot be ignored with lost PAYE, VAT, Business rates, Income tax, Corporate and Alcohol duty all being lost due to traders closing their doors that will have a huge economic impact.

The Government rightly stepped up and supported our high street during the pandemic as, like us, they saw our high street as the lifeblood of British communities but also recognised that it plays an integral role in upholding our rich and diverse heritage. Action taken during the pandemic not only provided a lifeline for survival but also provided an opportunity for the long-term recovery of our high street. However, once again the current trading market is failing small merchants and action is once again required.In conjunction with the above, we call on the Government to consider why their current policies allow large energy firms to achieve record levels of profit through repeated energy rises, despite causing thousands of small merchants to cease trading.

This letter has been sent in good faith as we believe the British Government like us recognises the contribution our high street makes to society, and also champions entrepreneurs that use their passion to navigate crisis after crisis.  


We look forward to your reply.

Epos Now

Published: 05/09/2022 at 13:04pm