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SME costs rise above inflation

The cost of doing business has continued to rise in 2014 despite the falling rate of inflation, research from the Forum of Private Business (FPB) has found.

The survey reveals that prices for micro, small and medium-sized businesses have risen 4.7% in 2014.
However, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate of inflation has fallen from 2.7% in September 2013 to 1.2% in September 2014.

According to the FPB:

  • 63% of firms have experienced an increase in business costs
  • 7 in 10 said their energy costs had risen
  • 65% reported a rise in transport costs
  • 76% said they were paying more for marketing
  • 65% said staff costs were more expensive.

The majority of surveyed firms expect the trend to continue, with 82% predicting further price rises and 16% expecting significant increases.

Phil Orford MBE, chief executive of the FPB, said:
“The major reasons for increases in prices are predominantly down to transport and energy prices rising. The economic outlook continues to improve but costs still remain an issue for our members.
“This is a timely reminder that despite all the talk of a need for above-inflation wage rises businesses continue to feel the strain of rising costs.”

Inflation falls to 5 year low

The 1.2% CPI rate of inflation recorded in September 2014 is the lowest since October 2009.

The Office for National Statistics said falling transport costs and food prices were largely responsible for the slowdown.

David Kern, chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce, said:
“These figures confirm that inflationary pressures in the economy remain muted and have eased in recent months. With oil and food prices now falling, there is a possibility that CPI inflation will fall below 1% before the end of this year.”
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