Support for businesses

The cost of living and the cost of doing business: supporting you

Support hub

Please find below categorised listed support available to you and your businesses during these challenging times. 

Property support Special offers Debt advice Health and Wellbeing
Energy Funding/loans Recruitment Other support

Updated January 2024

Businesses continue to be adversely affected by economic uncertainty. Although inflation is on a downward trajectory, we saw this jump last month from 3.9% in November to 4% in December, far from the Bank of England’s 2 percent target. Economists are predicting further bumps along the way due to the geopolitical conflicts causing global supply chain issues which may mean businesses having to absorb additional costs.

Energy costs remain one of the biggest burdens for businesses, although the volatility seen in 2022 has eased, the fact remains energy and food costs are still considerably higher than pre-pandemic levels, nonetheless, energy experts are hopeful that businesses will see smaller bills in 2024 and advise businesses to shop around when their current agreements come up for renewal. The Energy Bills Discount Scheme remains available until 31 March 2024, unless any new government support is announced. 


According to Savills’ UK Cross Sector Outlook 2023: Commercial report (January 2023), the undersupply of high quality space along with the expected tenant demands for green and prime space is likely to lead to higher rental demands. If this trend continues, business profitability will be affected.

In addition, Lloyds Bank’s Business Barometer report (February 2023) states that businesses are feeling more cautious about the economy.

To support businesses, the Property Advice Service from the London Business Partnership offers regular masterclasses delivered by industry experts and SMEs which need urgent one-to-one support can meet with expert commercial property advisors who can help them to find suitable commercial space, resolve lease issues and overcome renegotiation challenges. To access the support please complete the registration form

If you feel you don’t need a fixed commercial property for your business, you could think about hiring flexible office space for use only when you need it. Please see our page commercial space.

Running your commercial fleet efficiently

Running a commercial fleet is a major cost for many businesses, as this affects every part of the supply chain and in most instances now suppliers are passing on these costs.

See below how petrol and diesel prices have fluctuated over recent times:


The RAC has created the Ultimate Guide to saving on fuel. Apart from the way you drive the vehicle itself, there are other ways of saving costs such as better route planning using available apps or mapping systems. Also:

  • Checking for the lowest cost forecourt near you.
  • Consider using company or individual credit cards where there is a linked cash back scheme in place.
  • Think about changing your commercial vehicle to electric alternatives.
  • If you’re a company car driver you may be able to claim tax relief, you can claim tax relief on the money you’ve spent on fuel and electricity for business trips in your company car. If your employer reimburses some of the money, you can claim relief on the difference. Check eligibility.
  • Make sure you and other drivers in your organisation are aware of updates to the Highway Code to avoid unnecessary fines, for example, now some councils and TfL have powers to fine drivers up to £160 for veering into cycle lanes. The changes to protect cyclists came into force in January 2022. Click here to learn more.

Lowering your cost of recruitment

Recruitment is not cheap, as there are many factors to consider such as the costs of which job websites to use and weighing up the costs involved. We recommend in these very difficult times, where every penny counts, to use the Councils recruitment service, Our Newham Work.

We would recommend that businesses support residents by signing up to the London Living Wage. Although this not the ideal time to increase your wage bill, we encourage you to look at the benefits such as reduced absenteeism and staff turnover, improved wellbeing both in and outside of work – all of which help productivity.

In July 2022 the Royal Docks launched their action plan to become a living wage place by 2025. Anchor organisations like the University of East London, Tate & Lyle Sugars, London City Airport and London ExCeL are already accredited with the Living Wage Foundation and are actively championing the Royal Docks’ plan to increase uptake by 50% across all industries, enabling a pay rise for more than 3,000 workers. View our guide to Becoming a London Living Wage Employer.

Deep dive

Owing to the cost of living crisis, now really is the time to unpick what’s going on in your business so that you can make the necessary hard decisions.

First thing first: monitor your profit margins as this will help you to optimise the most lucrative areas of your business.

In order to do this, look at your gross profit margins. This will help you to review your pricing structure, item by item. Then compare that with your competitors and benchmark your prices accordingly.

Improve your response using our checklist (PDF)

Business Survey

We would like to hear from businesses in Newham about their wider business activities and the challenges they face to better understand the economic impact and shape our support. We would greatly appreciate it if you would spare 10 minutes or so of your time to complete the questionnaire. 

Business Survey