A CAFÉ near Hereford has said business electricity contracts are "beyond a joke" as cost of living pressures continue to bite.

Already this month The Den in Bridge Street has been forced to close due to soaring costs, with Kenchester Tea Rooms, north of Hereford on the A49 at Lyde, saying some of food costs have almost doubled.

The café at the Kenchester Water Gardens centre said anyone wanting to open a food business at the minute would struggle to try and get a new electric contract as the situation was "beyond a joke".


On top of that, bosses said there would be an extra £1 per hour for staff wages in April. There are, however, absolutely no plans to shut up shop.

"Let's face it, it doesn't really benefit the individual as they will just pay more tax and national insurance."

The company is also battling with rising food costs, saying some items have almost doubled in the last year.

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"Good luck to those that take on a new business in these times," the café said.

Business Secretary Grant Shapps has defended the scaling back of support for businesses with their energy bills, saying a “responsible government has to make those difficult choices”.

When it was put to him that companies having to put up prices as a result of the move would not counter inflation, the Business Secretary told LBC Radio: “It’s fair to acknowledge that when you do anything, make any of these policy decisions, you’re always balancing an array of often quite difficult choices.


“In this case, more borrowing and more tax against supporting businesses and what the Chancellor’s tried to do is balance both of those things.

“What I am saying is a responsible government has to make those difficult choices between do you put up tax, do you run the risk of higher mortgage rates and loan rates for businesses – we saw what happened with that before – or do you kind of ease back to a normal situation where governments don’t normally intervene and support energy bills.”