The UK’s Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has revealed a new survey showing that while businesses are more optimistic now than six months ago, profits are still under fire from higher energy prices. Energy, finds the survey, is identified by a third of firms as a concern.

Asked about the main area in which energy costs were biting, some 58% of respondents identified heating and lighting, followed by some 21% who identified the direct cost of energy as an input to business processes. Furthermore, despite prices increasing across all the regions, only 11% of firms were able to pass on all of these costs to customers and a third of businesses were unable to pass on any increases at all.

The news comes as The British Plastics Federation (BPF) sent a warning to its members that energy supply issues will remain a headache for the foreseeable future. The move follows a recent meeting between BPF director general Peter Davis and UK energy minister Malcolm Wicks which focussed on the effects of huge rises in energy costs, and, says the BPF, exacerbated by what it sees as the unfair Climate Change Levy.

The Federation has proposed a series of measures to address energy supplies including a big increase in energy from waste capacity to provide more domestically sourced energy. The lobby group also supports modernisation and development of the UK’s nuclear capacity.