A Restaurateur has warned it could be "a matter of weeks" before her business faces closure - and claimed West Dorset MP Chris Loder "massively missed the point" in response to her concerns.

Harriet Mansell, who owns two restaurants in Lyme Regis, wrote to Mr Loder voicing her concerns about soaring utility bills and the rise in VAT.

Owner of Robin Wylde in Silver Street and Lilac in Broad Street, Harriet says fuel bills have soared from the "low hundreds to several thousand pounds".

She said if costs continued to rise as expected then the businesses could face a bleak winter.

Harriet said in order to break even she faced the choice of either dramatically increasing prices or having to sit more tables than the restaurant had capacity for.

She said: “It's just not possible. We’re not breaking even and costs are only going in one direction so, to me, it’s clear that more help is needed for everyone in the industry.

“It doesn't matter how much we adapt as a business - if things don’t change then we’re not going to be able to make ends meet and that’s not just us. That’s businesses across Dorset, hospitality across Dorset, that is going to take a huge, huge hit.

“It's a matter of weeks, not months; at the rate that things are going my business will go under this winter”.

The warning comes after Mr Loder had suggested 'high-end' businesses weren't his immediate priority.

As reported, Mr Loder said: ‘‘The Robin Wylde restaurant menu costs £85 to 95 per person - for food only.

"It is a very nice ‘high-end’ restaurant serving those with a high-level of disposable income who may be able to afford to pay more for their fine-dining experience in the short-term.

"At the moment, my priority is helping local people and businesses where they are facing a considerable rise in energy prices which are presenting as existential threats imminently rather than the ‘high-end’ category.

"But once the new Prime Minister is elected, it will be clearer what the government may be able to do to help all businesses in the autumn and winter."

Harriet said she was keen not to criticise Mr Loder, but said in response: "He missed the point in quite a staggering way. Utilities have shot up chronically and it's not just the restaurant - we support some fantastic local producers and if we struggle then they struggle: these things have massive knock-on effects.

“There’s a perfect storm of factors affecting business meaning many don’t have a fighting chance and, well, Chris must have an awful lot on his plate at the moment if he can’t understand that.”