SMALL businesses in the region are more worried about rising energy costs than Brexit, a study has found.

The research, commissioned by Utilita Energy, shows that 15 per cent of firms have seen their energy bills soar by £250 or more per year.

In its third annual Powering the UK High Street report, examining the treatment of small businesses by energy companies, Utilita also reveals that over a quarter of micro-businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber had been forced to make staff redundant to reduce their running costs.

And despite an announcement by Ofgem of a strategic review of the micro-business energy market, nearly half of businesses said they had still been caught out with unexpected terms and conditions or costs when signing a new energy deal.

Bill Bullen, for Utilita, said: “We commissioned our first annual Powering the High Street report in 2017 as we knew many micro-businesses found it hard and costly to engage with suppliers to find a better deal on energy.

“A number of businesses surveyed do believe their provider gives them a fair deal, but there is a lot of work to do. It’s still concerning to see so many businesses worried about the cost of their energy rising and payment pressures and how this impacts their workforce.”