SHOPS, pubs and services in Eastwood and Kimberley have all been affected by the recent VAT increase and rise in fuel duty.
Many business owners in the town said it was difficult to tell whether the slump in trade was due to the VAT hike, or whether it was because of the time of year.
The manager at the Stag Inn in Kimberley, Karen Murden, said she had noticed a drop in trade and the VAT increase was ‘big topic of conversation’ among customers.
She said: “We have noticed we’ve had less customers through the door. It could be a lot better.
“This time of year there is a slight drop in trade anyway, but the VAT increase is not helping.
“It’s certainly a big topic of conversation among customers in the pub. They are not happy about it. People are worried about the cost of everything going up.”
Miles Murphy, the manager of the Wellington Inn, Eastwood, said he had not noticed any drop in trade as of yet, because he was offering 25p off every pint.
The cut cost pints at the Wellington are only offered to customers with tickets, but Mr Murphy said he was using the strategy to ‘off set’ the increase in VAT.
On top of VAT, fuel duty has increased, hitting the town’s transport and taxi companies hard.
Dave Palmer, manager of D&D Transport in Langley Mill, said: “VAT is not going too be too much of a problem because we claim it back, it’s the fuel duty.
“But we have increased about 8p a litre in the last three months. We are passing 1p in every 3p on to the customer, but they are not happy.
“Luckily we are a financially sound company but we can only be financially sound for so long before it hits into our margins. Then we have to think – do we trim it back? Do we lose our best customers? Do we make staff redundant?”
Tim Elmer who runs Elmer Driving said: “The price of fuel is getting too much now. I have not put my prices up for six years, but I am going to have to in the next couple of months because I just can’t afford it.
“All I can say is I am hoping all other instructors in Nottingham will put their prices up too so I remain competitive.”
In the last week of December seven Haulage companies went bust – including one in Derbyshire and one in Nottinghamshire.