British high street fears for future despite mini-budget assurances from Government

In a GB News exclusive, family butcher Graham Starkey shares his concerns about Friday's mini-budget

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A major Government support package for businesses is to be set out in its next mini budget to ease the pain of soaring energy bills throughout winter.

Energy bills will be capped for businesses for six months from October 1 -cutting the expected wholesale price in half - to enable them to plan ahead after a summer of political inaction due to the Tory leadership contest.

The financial relief could not come sooner for Starkey’s family butchers in North Yorkshire, a business that has been run by Graham Starkey for the last 42 years.

During that time, the butchers has weathered the BSE and Foot and Mouth crises, recessions and the covid pandemic.

But with the businesses’ electricity bill soaring by £44,000 a year, combined with the a 20% rise in the costs of goods, the owner fears for the future.

“We were paying 17p a unit [for electricity] and that’s now 68p a unit,” said Graham Starkey.

“Not only that, we’ve had the increase in the lard. A 12 kilo box of Italian lard was £12.50 18 months ago, it’s now £38 a box.

“We’ve had an increase in flour and rusk, meat’s gone up and I’ve not actually increased any prices.

“I just daredn’t because I know every household has got the same problems.”

Mr Starkey has cut back on energy as much as he can at his business, installing efficient lighting, but he must keep his meat fridges in constant operation and uses multiple ovens to bake meat pies and sausage rolls on the premises.

The butcher says that he could be forced to close if his electricity is not capped at 30p per unit, and believes that six months is too short a time period for the government to offer support.

“We’re a country of shopkeepers and the backbone of society,” said Mr Starkey.

“We’re all low paid for what we do. We’ve delivered all the way through the pandemic.

“We deserve respect and we deserve looking after. Otherwise when we’ve gone, we’ve gone.

“Look after the small businesses and we look after you.”

On Friday 23 September, Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng will deliver his emergency mini-budget detailing the full support package for businesses and consumers to help with the rising cost of living.