AN AWARD-WINING Dunfermline pub is facing a "ridiculous" rise in their energy bills amid the worsening economic crisis.

The Commercial Inn on Douglas Street have seen their energy bills increase by 125 per cent in recent weeks and are now having to look at their expenses as they plan ahead for the next year.

Andrew Black, who runs the bar, told the Press: "It's unbelievable, to have a rise of 125 per cent in energy bills is just ridiculous and whether it's sustainable or not, is going to be very difficult to find out.

"The Government have obviously put in a cap now which will reduce those slightly but we're still looking at a massive increase. It's worrying times and because the support is only there for six months, we're finding it very difficult to plan into next year."

He continued: "It's extremely high pressure, we're a community pub and we want to keep it going for everybody, all our regulars and our older clientele. It's a massive pressure so we're going to have to focus on where we can cut costs.

"That will obviously impact the business in certain areas, we might have to reduce our food operating times because we're paying a chef and having all the kitchen equipment on and that's going to be extremely expensive."

While they continue to operate throughout these stressful times, Andrew and his team are remaining positive. He added: "We will try to do everything that we possibly can to make it work.

"I mean being Pub of the Year Scotland has been the time of our lives and we've been smashing it, so for us to be facing this, then so many other businesses are going to be really struggling or already have been struggling through it all and with this added on top, it will be the final nail in the coffin for a lot of businesses.

"We have a very positive team and we all work our hardest to pull these things together so we all just need to work even harder and focus on where we can cut costs here, there and everywhere without ruining the community pub feel."

Dunfermline and West Fife MP Douglas Chapman is focused on getting answers for struggling businesses. He said: “The Energy Bill Relief Scheme is a sticking plaster measure to help businesses with soaring energy costs over the next six months.

“It’s unfortunate it’s taken so long for this policy to be announced as energy prices have been rising steeply since the beginning of the summer with no action from the UK Government. We know some businesses have already been forced to close and make their staff redundant while waiting for support.

“For those that remain, there is still a big question over what happens six months from now when the scheme is set to end for most businesses. Who would take on a major contract when the UK Government has allowed energy costs to be so volatile? It’s a risky step into the unknown for many SMEs.

“Even if more support is coming, businesses needs more certainty to plan ahead and we need more detail on what ‘more support’ actually means.

“I’ll be pushing for continued support for small firms in Dunfermline and West Fife and across Scotland beyond that six-month period, to ensure they don’t end up facing a cliff edge once we’re through the winter.”