Get in touch: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting YORK to 80360 or send an email»
Soaring price of fuel hits businesses in North Yorkshire
9:13am Saturday 3rd March 2012 in Ryedale news
RISING fuel prices are damaging companies across North Yorkshire, cash-strapped business owners have said.
The AA predicted that petrol prices would hit an all-time high last night, with a national average of more than 137.4p a litre.
Business leaders across the region yesterday told how the increases were hitting their profitability, and holding them back.
Michaela Knight, director of York cleaning business Synergy Cleaning, said: “The prices have hit us very hard. My company has four vans and I have to use the vans in order to get my staff from customer to customer.
“When I first started Synergy three years ago, I was spending around £750 a month in diesel – now it’s well over £1,500. Where do I get the money from to pay for it? I have to reduce my staffing as I can’t increase my prices because my customers will go elsewhere.”
Michaela said she had looked at ways to reduce the bill, with staff walking to some contracts or receiving advanced training to drive more efficiently.
But she said: “The main worry for me is my growth as a company. I don’t want to buy more vans because of the fuel prices and not buying more vehicles means I can’t take on more work. I have had to make two members of my team redundant just because of the increase in fuel. That extra £750 in fuel that the Government so happily take from me was the wages for two employees who I guess will have to go back on benefits. It just doesn’t make sense at all.”
Dave Lawson, managing director of YDL distribution company, based at Whitwell, said the impact of fuel prices on the transport industry was “devastating”.
He said: “What politicians fail to realise is that virtually every product we use or consume in the UK travels by road at some point in its life.”
He said they had passed some of the increases on to customers but had to absorb some themselves. He too said staff had been sent on efficient driving training and said vehicle speed limits had been restricted to save fuel.
Rachel Newton, of the Royal Oak pub in Helmsley, said: “I think it has affected us, because people don’t want to come out as much, do they? There’s parking costs on top of fuel as well. That’s just the economy at the moment. We’re not as badly hit though because we’re not right out in the sticks.”
Two other pub landlords, Andrew Ritchie of the Blacksmith’s Arms in Flaxton, and Paul Crossland of The Lion Inn at Blakely Ridge, said they had not yet noticed the effects.
City of York Council said it had seen 156 new members join its car share scheme since March 1 last year, taking the total number to 1430.
Since then, an average of 1,052 journeys have been shared on a daily basis.
Selby District Council said the savings made by last year’s restructuring had helped it cut down on expenses.
A spokesman said precise figures were not available as The Press went to print, but said: “In the past, different officers from different teams would have gone out and about to deal with particular issues – with maybe two or three officers visiting the same part of the district in one day.
“Now many of these issues are dealt with by our community officers, which means that they deal with all aspects of the council’s work within particular areas. That means fewer trips to and from the civic centre.”