The boss of Iceland has been forced to put the brakes on the opening of new stores across the UK after the firm’s energy bill went up by £20 million.

The Independent reports Richard Walker has made an urgent plea to the next Prime Minister to prepare an immediate cost of living package for businesses as so many are concerned about getting through the winter as prices continue to rocket.

He said the frozen food giant is “fighting to keep the lights on” after its bill more than doubled and is calling for an energy price cap for businesses in Britain.

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The UK is set to announce whether Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak will become Prime Minister today (Monday, September 5), and they face a massive challenge from the start, with thousands of families facing being unable to pay their bills.

He told The Guardian he is worried about a “half-baked response” from whoever takes over from Boris Johnson, which won’t do enough to address people’s needs.

Favourite Liz Truss has announced plans to cut business rates for small and medium businesses, which he called “lovely” but added “won’t even touch the sides.”

He said: “What they need to understand is [this affects] big business as well as small, because it’s exactly the same trouble we’re in – there’s just more jobs at stake.

He said Iceland’s bills are even higher than other supermarkets as it relies on storing produce in fridges and freezers.

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Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, Mr Walker said: “We’ve got to make decisions because we have got this unmanageable volatility.

“In some instances, it might just be easier to mothball shops or temporarily close them because the energy costs are just completely unsustainable.”

He said his company will be “large and strong enough to ride out this storm,” but many suppliers risk going bust, putting thousands of jobs at risk.

The news comes as the energy price cap is set to rise by 80 percent from October 1, 2022.

And, according to researchers at York University, by April next year, the proportion of people spending more than a fifth of their net income paying for energy will go up from 32 percent to 45.9 percent.

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