FSB responds to restriction update

The Federation of Small Business (FSB)’s Highlands & Islands Development Manager, David Richardson
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)’s Highlands and Islands Development Manager, David Richardson.

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Last week First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the return of some younger children to school, and the reopening of nurseries.

However, no further details have been outlined regarding the reopening of the wider economy.

Andrew McRae, the Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) Scotland policy chairperson, said: ‘Half of Scotland’s business owners are worried about whether their firm will make it through to the end of this crisis.

‘While self-employed and working parents of young children will cheer the return of early years education, the announcement won’t allay the wider fears of those who are battling to stay afloat.

‘We welcome the news that ministers will detail the conditions that need to be met before a wider reopening, but we’d urge them to provide dates, however provisional.

‘A draft timeline would allow many debt-laden operators to put in place measures to give them the best chance of surviving. We can’t see local businesses collapse during the final mile of this marathon just because they don’t know the finish line is around the corner.’

FSB’s Highlands and Islands development manager, David Richardson, added: ‘The situation is critical across Scotland, but nowhere more so than in the Highlands, where 54 per cent of businesses are currently closed, 45 per cent of them by law.

‘This compares to 35 per cent of all businesses in Scotland as a whole and only 20 per cent in Glasgow.

‘Moreover, 35 per cent of Highland businesses describe themselves as ‘really struggling/barely staying afloat’, compared to 28 per cent for Scotland and 25 per cent for Glasgow.

‘The Highlands is dominated by its visitor economy and times are really hard. The future of many of our great businesses depends on a relatively early reopening or, failing that, substantial government support to tide them over until we do.’