LIKE a canary down the coalmine, our small and medium businesses are a telling measure of the nation’s economic health.
Worryingly, the canary is swaying on its perch, as Sun Business reveals today.
Many of these firms were pushed to the brink — or beyond — by pandemic lockdowns, and are now being hammered again by rocketing costs.
A third say their bills have increased by 50 per cent or more in the past year.
And with costs set to soar again and again in the months to come, thousands of these firms face the very real prospect of going to the wall.
Simply passing on all the extra costs to consumers will prove impossible for many, while those consumers themselves feel the cost-of-living squeeze.
These small firms are the lifeblood of our economy, from the jobs they provide to the taxes they pay and the custom they give to suppliers.
If they fall, other dominos will start to topple fast too.
No wonder a growing number of frustrated Brits want the Tory leadership circus to end now, to focus on the crisis.
At the very least, the civil service should be climbing off its August sun lounger and working up proper plans to present to the new PM on Day One.
WHAT GOES UP
IT should come as a huge relief to motorists that wholesale fuel prices have at last fallen back to their levels from before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
We say “should”, because as is now depressingly familiar, that price plunge is not being passed on at the pumps.
Forecourt prices respond like lightning when the wholesale cost rises, so it’s hard to disagree with accusations of industry racketeering – with drivers being overcharged by up to 30p a litre.
It is also increasingly hard to see why The Sun’s call for a Pumpwatch price regulator is yet to be acted upon . . . until you remember that the Treasury is also benefiting from the inflated prices to the tune of £10million a day in VAT.
Appearing to be complicit in petrol profiteering is a bad look at any time, but it’s downright scandalous right now.
LISTENING to the classified football results being read out on the radio was once part and parcel of Saturday afternoons.
True, nowadays most fans get the scores on their mobile, but there’s still something sad about the BBC sneakily putting this institution out to pasture.
We’re glad it survived long enough for comedian Eric Morecambe’s beloved tongue-twister East Fife 4 Forfar 5 to come to pass in 2018 (albeit on penalties).
And following an outcry about the culling of the service, maybe we can yet hope for an injury-time reversal.
Until then, it seems to be a case of “Don’t mention the score.”