Bakers facing 'existential threat' in Scotland amid soaring costs

Scottish Bakers wrote to Westminster and Holyrood politicians asking for help to protect the industry.

Bakers facing ‘existential threat’ in Scotland write to politicians amid soaring energy costs iStock

Scottish bakers facing an “existential threat” amid soaring costs have written to politicians in a desperate bid to keep their ovens switched on.

Backed by SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford, Scottish Bakers has penned a note asking Holyrood and Westminster politicians to bring their attention to the plight of the industry.

It comes as Ofgem announced the energy price cap will increase to £3,549 on Friday morning.

That is a rise of 80% and means millions of people will see energy bills soar from October.

Speaking of the “unprecedented strain” on the baking industry, chief executive officer Alisdair Smith said that many of the organisation’s members had reported an “existential threat to their survival” due to rising input costs and recruitment challenges.

He said: “As a result, I am asking the UK government for urgent action to support and provide relief to this most noble of trades, that every day puts fresh bread, savoury snacks, and sweet treats into our communities.”

Highlighting the hard work of bakers throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, he said early signs of rising input costs became apparent more than a year ago but that nothing could have prepared them for the current state of affairs.

He stated: “My board and members advise me that we are now at a point where many could be facing an existential threat to their survival because of these additional costs.”

He reported that average costs reported by members for electricity and gas have gone up by 217% and 207%, respectively.

General insurance costs have also risen by 83%, alongside a 41% increase in the cost of general ingredients.

Smith said that several members of the organisation were facing an imminent quadrupling of their electricity costs.

In addition to this, he reported that additional pressure is being applied on bakers due to a recruitment squeeze with more than 90% of members unable to fill vacancies, increasing pressure on production and the workforce that remains.

He continued: “As a major provider of apprenticeship training, this recruitment crisis is also directly impacting our own business with new learner registrations, and therefore contract milestone payments, significantly down on past performance.”

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