Energy prices worrying firm

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A BUSINESS owner fears he will struggle to meet any rise in fuel costs after British Gas announced up to 10 per cent increases in its charges.

Peter Boggis, owner of Hastings Paint and Powder Finishers in Castlefield Industrial Estate, St Leonards says he is already working around the clock to keep the wolf from the door.

Founded in 1985, Mr Boggis runs an industrial paint finishing business which uses an electric powered oven costing £200 a day. He employs eight staff and fears he may be forced to downsize just to pay the bills. At 61, he is currently working a gruelling 17 hour day, seven days a week from 7am to 12pm at night. He has already remortgaged his house once before to keep the business afloat. Now he fears more energy firms will raise their prices.

He said: “I’ve been here for 26 years now and this is the tightest it’s ever been. It’s really hard to keep your head above water and pay all your bills and keep your staff paid. My oven costs £200 a day to run and I just can’t put those costs back to my clients. We’re struggling to get enough work through to cover the costs. If we’re going to keep paying our taxes then we need some help. I haven’t had a holiday for years. I work seven days a week. I feel like giving up quite often. One guy has gone to a three day week but I haven’t had to lay any body off. We might have to downsize just to survive. I can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel.Each time we have struggled I have just remortgaged. But I’m too old now so the next big hit we get we’ll have to shut.”

Sarah Owen, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate, said: “When the price of energy increases, it gets passed on. But when it drops it doesn’t. I’m calling on David Cameron to freeze bills.” British Gas stated it had to raise prices to cover its own costs.