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The head of the Federation of Small Businesses in the Highlands and Islands (FSB) has warned that the sudden jump from tier one to four will have a massive impact on Lochaber firms.
David Richardson, the FSB development manager for the Highlands and Islands told the Lochaber Times of his concerns in the wake of the latest coronavirus regulation changes.
‘For the many Lochaber businesses struggling to recover after what has been a very poor year, the sudden leap from level one to level four will come as a complete shock,’ said Mr Richardson.
‘Not only will incomes plummet once again – or dry up altogether – but many will have significant stock holding problems. Numerous businesses were left with excess stock during the spring/early summer lockdown, a problem that recurred when restrictions were reintroduced in October, and now it’s happening again from Boxing Day.
‘Moreover, there are serious implications for employment – Highland job-seeker numbers have already increased by 98 per cent since March – and last but not least, delayed school reopenings present a significant problem for working couples.
‘There are limits to how much loss and stress our small, independent businesses can take, which is why FSB Scotland is calling for government to ensure that announcements on new restrictions are accompanied at the same time by information on how affected businesses will be supported.
‘Support must be made available to struggling business as and when they need it, not delayed for weeks while discussions take place about how best it should be targeted and managed.
‘But we all have a part to play, for in supporting our local, independent businesses we are supporting our communities and the standard of living and quality of life that we all enjoy. Keeping trade local really matters.’