The snow and icy weather conditions are jeopardising the future of hundreds of small businesses across the UK, business groups have warned.
The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) told the BBC as many small businesses were under threat as a result of the cold snap.
Businesses where cashflow is vital, such as bars and restaurants, are really suffering, it said.
The Federation of Small Businesses said members were “particularly hard-hit”.
Estimates vary widely about the full extent of the overall cost to the UK economy of the cold weather.
Douglas McWilliams, Chief Executive of the CEBR, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that about one-fifth of the economy had been affected, costing about £1bn every day.
Chris Gorman at the Forum for Private Business put the figure at nearer £250m, with 10% of the workforce being affected.
However Newcastle Business Forums member and Millennium Balloons boss Iain Robinson has risen to the challenge. When he spotted 500 snow shovels for sale on the internet he bought them up and sold them on to all his contacts within an afternoon.
Although shovels are not usually on his party products list he was determined to apply his 'glass is always half full' attitude to the weather.