Hose pipe bankruptcy

Those providing services such as car washing or window cleaning could be at particular risk as they may have to purchase expensive equipment in order to reduce water consumption.

Now the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is calling on Margaret Beckett, the environment secretary, to stop water companies from obtaining drought orders.

The submission made by the FSB to the drought order inquiry by Southern Water states: “The small scale of many of these businesses means that this economic activity will not cease for just the duration of the ban, but may close permanently.”

It is feared that a sudden stop in trade could lead to businesses owners putting up their homes as collateral, which could lead to bankruptcy of families, not just businesses.