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Soaring energy prices could result in NE job losses

Date 17 Sep 2006

Two-thirds of North East businesses believe that building more nuclear power stations is key to solving our future energy needs, a new survey reveals. More than 70 per cent of respondents polled by the North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC) said their companies had been affected by rising energy prices while one in three warned that sustained energy price rises will result in job losses.The cost of gas in particular had rocketed with 65 per cent experiencing double digit rises and more than eight per cent of respondents witnessing their gas bills soaring by over 100 per cent. The impact on businesses of utility price hikes forced nearly a third of firms to raise their prices while one in five voted with their feet by changing supplier.  Fifteen per cent of respondents said they had changed their working practices but only five percent resorted to job cuts.Maggie Pavlou, NECC president, said: “This is a stark reflection of the impact that soaring energy prices is having on this region. The UK must not be allowed to fall hostage to the vagaries of the energy markets and job losses are on the horizon unless we get a grip on the situation sooner rather than later. “The North East economy has record levels of people in employment and the outlook from our members is extremely positive, particularly among manufacturers. We shouldn’t undermine it by letting the energy situation spiral out of control.”The sharp price rises have prompted 61 per cent of respondents to take steps to improve energy efficiency. And, nearly 80 per cent believe the Government should encourage a greater use of renewable energy sources.

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