NDP, small business owners decry surprise energy rate hike

REGINA - Today, Official Opposition Critic for Jobs and Economy Aleana Young was joined by small business owners outside T+A Vintage and Core Coffee, calling on the province to reverse utility rate hikes that add to inflationary pressures already stifling the growth of small businesses.

Last month, the Sask. Party government announced that it was implementing an energy rate increase of 19.9 per cent on August 1. “Helping Saskatchewan small businesses amid forty-year high inflationary pressures should be a top priority of this government,” said Young. “Instead, the Sask. Party blindsided them by raising their energy costs twenty per cent with little notice and no consultation.”

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) also amplified the NDP call to scrap these utility hikes. “The provincial government’s latest energy rate hike is only the latest in a long list of costs they’ve piled onto small businesses that are already struggling with inflation, labour shortages and supply chain issues,” said Brianna Solberg, CFIB senior policy analyst. 

Solberg continues: “the provincial government has also increased power rates by 8 per cent, expanded the PST to the arts and entertainment industries, and voted against suspending the provincial fuel tax. With over 80 per cent of small business owners saying that the government is making it even harder to do business, it's no wonder one in six Saskatchewan small businesses are actively considering closing.”

“Saskatchewan small businesses know nearly every line item is on the rise given the increasing costs of food, fuel and other basic necessities,” said Official Opposition SaskEnergy Critic Erika Ritchie. “Add to this an average of $52 on monthly gas bills, and it’s no wonder why most small businesses are finding it nearly impossible to grow, never mind stay afloat.”

The Official Opposition calls on the Government of Saskatchewan to support small businesses by reversing the surprise 19.9 per cent SaskEnergy rate increase. 

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