Leeds Refills on Hyde Park Corner is one of many small businesses within Leeds that are struggling due to the cost of living and energy crisis.
The refills and zero-waste shop has an ethos to reduce waste and sells food through refills alongside other household products that are reusable and recyclable.
Ian Thursfield, the owner of family-run Leeds Refills shop, said: “The energy crisis and cost of living crisis is happening, we all (similar sustainable/refill shops around Leeds) kind of chat to each other, we either ride it out and hope it ends soon, or we’re looking at ways out now.”
Ian believes the energy crisis will have a big impact on his business. He said: “I don’t know yet, the numbers were always quite low when it came to sales, but everything is happening at one… I couldn’t tell you which one issue has hit us the most.
“For me, we’re in a two-year contract, I’ll find out in April after the 18 months of us ‘locking-in’ the prices – which could be detrimental to us, even if it goes up 30-40%, never mind the predicted 100’s.”
Ian has previously reached out to councillors in and around Hyde Park, Leeds, but feels there hasn’t been sufficient support.
He added: “I had to reach out and ask for support around April/May, I said I need help… local councillors said they can give business rates relief but the majority of us small businesses don’t pay business rates.
“No one’s reached out since the Covid Relief really, the only direction and advice we’re getting from higher up officials is this will take as long as it takes, the energy crisis has no end in sight.”
The government have released a Small Business Rates Relief scheme where they are discounting or completely abolishing Business Rates for small businesses – yet many small businesses aren’t hitting the margins to pay Business Rates regardless.
Kiearan Solanki, owner of Vibez Events, another small businesses in Leeds, said: “The Leeds hospitality industry is also struggling, and we’re not seeing much help.
“I know it’s the same for a lot of small businesses out there but hopefully the end to the struggle is close.”
Enough is Enough, a non-profit organisation standing up against the current crisis, and is campaigning for change within the government.
A spokesperson said: “We can’t rely on the establishment to solve our problems so now it’s up to us in every workplace and every community.
“Enough is enough. It’s time to turn anger into action.”
Leeds City Council announced a new support scheme in October, the Business Rate Relief Scheme, which aims to help those struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.
A statement from the council said: “We all know the cost-of-living crisis is now dominating the national news with people getting really worried about how they are going to pay their bills and make ends meet. The council is committed to doing everything we can working with our partners to help people as much as possible.”