Chancellor Rishi Sunak has today announced a range of measures designed to support employment as UK businesses grapple with a range of new trading restrictions designed to protect public health. Headline measures included a new wage subsidy scheme and additional help for the self-employed.
Andrew McRae, the Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) Scotland policy chair, said: “The Chancellor has avoided the dismal scenario where Scottish firms faced new and ongoing restrictions on trade while most support for business was being withdrawn. Today’s measures go some way to filling the most obvious support gaps, but Ministers must be prepared to go further.
“We’re missing new support for the 1 in 20 Scottish businesses that are still unable to trade at all because of government rules, such as soft play centres and nightclubs. And the Chancellor must ensure that the strings attached to the new job support scheme don’t make it inaccessible to firms without large HR and tax departments or exclude seasonal operators.
“New financial assistance for the self-employed shows that the Chancellor understands how difficult this year for many people who have set up on their own. But this scheme must include operators overlooked in the past, like company directors.
“Governments in Edinburgh and London have an ongoing duty to help the businesses that their restrictions are harming. Today’s measures are a good start, but must be augmented to ensure every local firm is given a fair chance to make it through this crisis. For example, extra grant support might be required for firms hit hardest by this week’s announcements.”