Firms face heavy losses from weather

THE pre-Christmas cold snap could cost local businesses hundreds of thousands of pounds.

THE pre-Christmas cold snap is likely to cost local businesses hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Gridlock on the A14 and other major routes, combined with the closure of the Port of Felixstowe due to high winds, meant lengthy delays for haulage operators yesterday - representing lost business and increased fuel and labour costs.

But the disruption spanned all sectors of business, with the icy conditions making thousands of people late for work, and deterring some from even attempting the journey.

The closure of many schools contributed further to absenteeism, with many parents forced to take time off work unexpectedly.

And the weather also represented a set-back for hard-pressed retailers hoping for a much-needed boost in the run-up to Christmas, with the disruption to the transport system also keeping many shoppers at home.

John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber - who was himself caught up in the traffic queues on the A14 outside of Ipswich yesterday - said: “Clearly today's weather is having a major impact on business.

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“However, we do recognise that these are very occasional events in the UK and we cannot expect local authorities to have the equipment of, say, Scandinavia as that would clearly be a disproportionate use of public money. We accept that they cannot have a snow plough on every corner.

“But that said, why is it that we continually get caught out every time we have a snowfall like this, particularly when this weather was forecast at the beginning of the week?

“That is the frustrating thing; being caught out once again and not being fully prepared is costing the business community a lot of money, in loss of man-hours and delays in goods and services being delivered on time.”

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