Want to read more?
At the start of the pandemic in March we took the decision to make online access to our news free of charge by taking down our paywall. At a time where accurate information about Covid-19 was vital to our community, this was the right decision – even though it meant a drop in our income. In order to help safeguard the future of our journalism, the time has now come to reinstate our paywall, However, rest assured that access to all Covid related news will still remain free.
To access all other news will require a subscription, as it did pre-pandemic. The good news is that for the whole of December we will be running a special discounted offer to get 3 months access for the price of one month. Thank you for supporting us during this incredibly challenging time.
We value our content and access to our full site is only available with a subscription. Your subscription entitles you to 7-day-a-week access to our website, plus a full digital copy of that week’s paper to read on your pc/mac or mobile device. In addition, your subscription includes access to digital archive copies from 2006 onwards.
Just want to read one issue? No problem you can subscribe for just one week (or longer if you wish).
The extension of the Covid furlough scheme for businesses announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in his budget last week might just help the bulk of Lochaber’s small businesses survive the last stretch of the road to recovery.
So said the Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) Highlands and Islands Development manager David Richardson, who told the Lochaber Times: ‘By extending the furlough scheme and introducing additional emergency payments for the self-employed, the Chancellor is enabling the bulk of Lochaber’s small business community to struggle round what we hope will be the final lap on the road to recovery.
‘However, the longer the current travel restrictions remain, the longer and bumpier the road for our all-important tourism and hospitality businesses will be.
‘These businesses, providing accommodation, food and drink, activities and a wide range of other services, many of them operating seasonally and in remote rural areas, still have to get through next winter. In short, we would have liked to see the Chancellor take a longer-term view.
‘The furloughing extension and self-employed payments should be complemented by grant assistance for the directors of smaller companies and, looking forward, the Chancellor should have cut employers’ national insurance contributions to make it cheaper to create jobs.
“Moreover, while welcoming the extension of the VAT cut to September, many of our tourism and hospitality businesses will worry about what happens next. We’ve got to attract consumers back and no-one knows when international markets will reopen and businesses return to something like normal. On the bright side, however, the freeze in fuel duty is welcome.’
Mr Richardson added the hope was now that the Scottish Government will optimise its package of rates and grant support measures, ensuring the focus is on helping the smallest businesses hit hardest, rather than the biggest businesses who’ve avoided the worst of the restrictions.
And he concluded: ‘The path ahead remains rocky and our small business community is going to need all the support it can get.’
UK Government Chancellor Rishi Sunak extended the furlough scheme in his latest budget.