Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Netanyahu deletes tweet featuring photo of James Foley

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 22 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 22 August 2014

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Read more

FOCUS

Lifting the veil over China's air pollution

Read more

ENCORE!

Tango Takeover in Paris

Read more

WEB NEWS

Calls for ISIS media blackout after execution of James Foley

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Steely resolve of reporters exploited by pared-down employers'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

US judge calls Argentina bond swap offer illegal

Read more

  • Europe launches navigation satellites to rival GPS

    Read more

  • Besieged by problems, Hollande faces unhappy return from summer holidays

    Read more

  • Iraqi Sunnis quit govt talks after mosque massacre

    Read more

  • US demands Russia withdraw aid convoy from Ukraine

    Read more

  • Rights group sues US government over ‘deportation mill’

    Read more

  • Colombian army and FARC rebels begin work on ceasefire

    Read more

  • US National Guard starts to pull out of embattled Missouri town

    Read more

  • PSG fall flat once more against Evian

    Read more

  • Fed Chair says US job market still hampered by Great Recession

    Read more

  • August 22, 1914: The bloodiest day in French military history

    Read more

  • Central African Republic announces coalition cabinet

    Read more

  • Hamas publicly executes "informers"

    Read more

  • French firebrand leftist to quit party presidency, but not politics

    Read more

  • Fear of Ebola sky-high among Air France workers

    Read more

  • US says Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen'

    Read more

  • Malaysia mourns as remains of MH17 victims arrive home

    Read more

  • Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu set to be Erdogan's new PM

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

Europe

Snow could cost British economy millions

Video by Nicolas RUSWORTH

Latest update : 2009-02-03

A heavy snow storm that brought havoc to the UK will cost the country's already recession-hit economy up to 3.5 billion pounds ($5 billion), according to Britain's Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

AFP- The snow storms which paralysed Britain may have cost businesses already battling the credit crunch up to a billion pounds, experts said Tuesday -- and more blizzards could be still on their way.
   
The 10 centimetres (four inches) of snow which coated London, Europe's financial capital, Monday virtually shut down air, rail and road links, forcing thousands of workers to stay at home in the worst storms in 18 years.
   
With Britain in recession and facing what the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says will be the worst slump in the developed world, the rare cold snap risks putting many struggling businesses into the deep freeze for good.
   
The Federation of Small Businesses, which represents over 200,000 businessmen, said one in five people did not make it to work Monday, costing employers up to 1.2 billion pounds (1.3 billion euros, 1.7 billion dollars).
   
Spokesman Stephen Alambritis said if the bad weather continues this week, that could rise to 3.5 billion pounds.
   
Forecasters say Scotland, south Wales and parts of southern England will bear the brunt of the snow in the coming days. It has now stopped snowing in London.
   
The bad weather also hit other European countries including France, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium and Spain.
   
Douglas McWilliams, chief executive of the Centre for Economics and Business Research, suggested several thousand firms could go bankrupt after the snow in Britain, especially if it lingers.
   
"If it leads to delayed payments, the combined hit on profits and cashflow could send many businesses who might be close to the brink into premature bankruptcy," he told the Guardian newspaper.
   
"Many are in retail and construction, sectors likely to be most affected by snow and transport disruption."
   
But he added the cold weather could have an upside for some sectors.
   
"Consumers spend more on heating and on warm clothes, and any accidents or structural damage leads to increased spending on repairs," said McWilliams.
   
Howard Archer of analysts IHS Global Insight warned: "Any disruption to business is the very last thing that the UK economy needs in its current extremely weak state."
   
Business leaders have criticised officials in London and southeast England for not doing more to prepare for the snow, despite forecasts predicting a deluge.
   
David Frost, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said images of snowbound Britain were embarrassing abroad.
   
"All the European channels were showing images of London at a complete standstill, which was not a very positive image for the UK," he told BBC radio.
   
"I wonder whether we have become a bit too complacent... when something like this does happen, we are caught very much on the hop."
   
London Mayor Boris Johnson was criticised by his predecessor Ken Livingstone after the widespread failure of the city's public transport system Monday.
   
Even the city's iconic red buses, which stayed on the road during World War II German bombing raids on London, failed to run for the first time in 100 years.
   
British television ran pictures of bus drivers enjoying snowball fights instead.
   
Johnson blamed the "wrong quantity of snow" for the problems and told BBC radio that "unleashing a 12-tonne bus on to heavily packed snow or ice" would risk "turning it into a lethal weapon".
   
But Alambritis urged him to consult his counterparts in cities like Moscow and Vancouver on keeping public transport on track despite snowfalls.
   
"We need this debate," he said. "One of the world's biggest economies should not be grinding to a halt, even if it is only once every 10 years."

Date created : 2009-02-03

COMMENT(S)