Cold snap to jeopardise pre-Christmas sales rush?

‘Snow will hit small companies hardest’

Local Councils and the Department for Transport have come in for fierce criticism as the UK has once again seen widespread disruption due to snowy conditions.

Gridlocked roads are costing the economy around £1.2 billion a day, according to insurance firm RSA, and some pundits have warned that small companies will be worst hit, while many office-based companies seeing an increase in remote working to keep operations going.

In January the cold snap saw 1,500 schools closed, 2,356 miles of traffic jam and around 44 per cent of staff not getting to work.

“Some parts of the UK have seen exceptional snowfall, with eastern regions seeing 30 to 40 cm, and locally up to 100 cm of lying snow,” said Met Office chief forecaster Eddy Carroll. “Further snow is expected in many eastern parts of the UK and the public are advised to stay up to date with the forecast.”

RSA insurance director David Greaves said: "This cold front couldn’t come at a worse time for the UK.

"Bad weather in the run up to Christmas will have a major impact on the UK’s economy and could lead to significant losses for already struggling businesses."

"We’re due to see a rush of sales in December ahead of the VAT rise in the new year, and many retailers are relying on these sales to see them through the traditionally quiet post-January sales period.

"If we lose just one fifth of our daily GDP through companies not being able to open and people cancelling spending plans on events and shopping we’re looking at about £1.2 billion every working day.

"If the weather continues for the next two weeks, as the Met Office is predicting, this figure will quickly spiral to more than £12 billion, dwarfing the hit we took in January this year."

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