'Wear more winter clothes to work': Birmingham boss' appeal to staff over energy bill hike

ITV News Central reporter Lucy Kapasi met one business owner who said he's considering turning off the heating this winter

A business owner from Birmingham is asking his staff to wear more clothes this winter so he can turn the heating down because they can't afford the rising costs.

Tony Constance who owns Stockfield Metal Spinners in Balsall Health says the latest forecast suggests his annual energy bill will rise by more than £600,000 pounds.

He is now calling on the government to intervene.

The business has been spinning metal for more than 70 years, manufacturing metal parts for the pharmaceutical, medical and construction industries.

"It's an increase of £600,000," Mr Constance explained. "In terms of unit price, electricity is going up from 14p a kilowatt to 80p, and gas by ten times."

"A lot of action is going to have to be taken."

Tony Constance is calling for action as his energy bills increase

He added that turning the heating down over the winter would not be an easy choice to make - pointing out that he would have to buy "extra woolies for them (staff) so they can come and work in the cold."

"Whether Health and Safety will allow us to do that, we'll have to consult."

In a statement, a treasury spokesperson for the government said it was trying to support businesses "to navigate the months ahead".

"We've cut taxes for hundreds of thousands of businesses by increasing the employment allowance and slashing fuel duty.

"We've also introduced a 50% business rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, and put the brakes on bill increases by freezing the business rates multiplier, worth £4.6 billion over the next five years".

A government spokesperson added that “no national government can control the global factors pushing up the price of energy, but we will continue to support business in navigating the months ahead.  

“This includes doubling our support for high energy usage businesses, reducing employer national insurance, slashing fuel duty, introducing a 50% business rates relief and putting the brakes on bill increases by freezing the business rates multiplier - worth £4.6 billion over the next five years.”