RSA director says cold snap "couldn't come at a worse time"

Freezing weather conditions moving across the UK could cost the economy as much as £1.2bn a day over the coming weeks, RSA has warned. The firm is predicting retailers and the restaurant and bar industries will be the worst affected.

A spokesman for RSA said wintry conditions could severely impact Christmas shopping levels, with shoppers forced off the high street and towards online retailers.

RSA director David Greaves said: "This cold front couldn’t come at a worse time for the UK. Bad weather in the run up to Christmas will have a major impact on the UK’s economy and could lead to significant losses for already struggling businesses.

"We’re due to see a rush of sales in December ahead of the VAT rise in the New Year, and many retailers are relying on these sales to see them through the traditionally quiet post-January sales period. If we lose just one fifth of our daily GDP through companies not being able to open and people cancelling spending plans on events and shopping we’re looking at about £1.2bn every working day.

"If the weather continues for the next two weeks, as the Met Office is predicting, this figure will quickly spiral to more than £12bn, dwarfing the hit we took in January this year."