Small firms cheer roadmap but warn of long recovery

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today set out dates for the lifting of most coronavirus restrictions in Scotland, including those related to independent shops, hospitality enterprises and hairdressers. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) welcomed the new detail but warned that the survival of many local firms is still in doubt.

Andrew McRae, the FSB’s Scotland policy chair, said: “The tone and content of today’s statement will give many independent and local businesses across Scotland increased confidence. These indicative dates allow many firms to plan ahead and the restrained optimism from the First Minister may encourage some small businesses not to throw in the towel.

“However while we look to be winning the race against the virus, we still face a countdown to save our local businesses before their reserves of cash and resolve are exhausted.

“Half of all Scottish independent business owners say they’re worried about their survival, and official figures show that local Scottish enterprises are laden with billions of pound of debt. The crisis is nowhere near finished for thousands of important local Scottish firms.

“New Scottish Government re-start grants are incredibly welcome, but that can’t be the end of efforts to help independent operators both make it to the summer and eventually recover from this crisis. While we should cheer the prospect of the end of lockdown, we need more action to help our local businesses deal with its long-term consequences.”