A HUNDRED businesses in Woking are facing a combined £430,633 energy bill increase once Government support is cut in April, according to new analysis from the Liberal Democrats.

The study shows that the average bill increase per business is likely to be £4,306.

According to official statistics, there are 100 pubs, restaurants and cafes in Woking at risk, facing a rise in energy bills of thousands of pounds.

The Government initially capped the cost of business energy, but from April they are replacing that scheme and will instead pay a smaller proportion of businesses' increased costs. Many will see a 90% cut in help from the Government, say the Lib Dems.

They are calling for the Government to think again with businesses concerned about the “cliff edge” they are facing this year.

Ministers, argue the Lib Dems, should listen to businesses about the risks they face before withdrawing support.

The Lib Dem spokesperson for Woking, Will Forster, said: “Countless businesses in our area are facing a cliff edge this year.

“Our pubs, restaurants and cafes have endured so much already, people will be devastated to see any more harm to our local high streets.

“The Government needs to give businesses around here the support they need to endure this energy bill catastrophe.

“Ministers in Westminster must not wait a moment longer. The Lib Dems and I are calling for them to intervene and think again about this change. This could rip the heart out of our communities.”

Scaling back energy support for business will save the Government £12.5billion as the existing Energy Bill Relief Scheme, which came with an £18 billion price tag, is replaced by the less generous Energy Bill Discount Scheme, which comes in at £5.5 billion.

The Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, said: “My top priority is tackling the rising cost of living, that means taking difficult decisions to bring down inflation while giving as much support to families and business as we are able.”

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) was highly critical of the change, however.

National FSB chairman Martin McTague said: “The decision is a huge disappointment for small businesses. Many small firms will not be able to survive on the pennies provided through the new version of the scheme.

“And it risks stoking inflation because as small businessses’ bills rise, so will their prices.

'‘This is so out of touch.”