28 Nov 2022A study carried out by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has found that one in four small firms plan to close, restructure or downsize if support with their energy bills ends next April. The business group suggested that small businesses' survival will 'depend on continued government support through the Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS) beyond March 2023', at which time the EBRS is currently set to end. According to the survey, almost half of all firms polled expect to raise prices in response to the energy bill crisis if support ends. Over a third have already put growth plans on hold as a result of soaring energy costs, the FSB found. Additionally, 63% of businesses stated that their energy costs have risen considerably when compared to this time last year. Martin McTague, National Chair of the FSB, said: 'Our research indicates that small firms are being held back from investment and are at the brink of collapse because of sky-rocketing energy costs. It'd be a real shame and great loss to our economy if those who managed to get through the pandemic and this tough winter with government support end up closing their businesses because relief ends too sharply in April.'