Reacting to the latest ONS inflation data for March, David Bharier, Head of Research at the BCC, said:
“Today’s CPI rate of 10.1% means that prices continue to rise at an alarming rate. Driven largely by housing and food costs, this is on top of an already high growth rate from this time last year.
“More positively, today’s figures show that the Producer Price Index has eased to 7.6% from 12.8%, indicating the peak may have passed for input price growth.
“Our research shows that inflation is still by far and away the top concern for UK SMEs. This has been driven by three years of global lockdowns, supply chain crises, energy shocks, and new trade barriers with the EU.
“Small businesses, particularly those in the retail and hospitality sector, have been the least able to absorb cost rises, and we see that most have not invested or grown.
“Businesses need to see a reduction in the cost and burden of exporting and importing, particularly with the EU, as well as increased support to deal with the unprecedented energy price shock.”