Workers taking snow days during the Arctic weather are costing Birmingham and West Midlands businesses £73 million a day, it has been claimed.
After a fortnight of sub-zero temperatures, firms are beginning to be hit in the pocket by staff who stay at home rather than battle their way to work through the snow.
Cancelled trains, airport shut-downs and road closures are also harming the region’s economy, according to a Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Group survey.
More than 60 per cent of companies in the survey said they were being affected by staff not turning up for work – hitting production and reducing profits.
More than half of those taking part in the poll reported employees arriving late for work and blaming the freezing conditions.
Many firms have had to increase heating, which is pushing up costs, and 32 per cent say they are losing business through late deliveries.
Chamber policy adviser Ross Gurdin said: “It is estimated that the current bad weather could cost the West Midlands £72.7 million per day.”
Mr Gurdin added that companies surveyed wanted the Government to do far more to keep public transport moving.
There were also demands to invest in British manufactured snow-clearing equipment and to make sure local councils kept larger stockpiles of grit for the roads.
Meanwhile, Birmingham City Council is refusing to say whether its grit and salt supplies are running low.
At the end of the coldest November and early December for years, the council’s 28 gritting lorries have treated the city’s 700-mile priority road network and pavements every day for two weeks.
A council spokesman said: “We never comment on salt levels.
“What we do say is point out that we kept the city running last year through unprecedented winter weather.
“We are doing our bit to keep Birmingham moving.”
The spokesman added that conditions in the West Midlands “have not been a patch” on the huge snowfalls seen in Scotland and the North-east of England.