Self-employed and small businesses need additional support

The self-employed and small businesses need new protection in order to emerge from the economic crisis brought about through the pandemic, according to the Federation of Small Businesses.

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 2:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 3:46 pm
Anchorage Restaurant, Leverburgh

The first major in-depth study of Covid’s impact on business, conducted by Diffley Partnership for the FSB, found that three-fifths of their sample of almost 700 business owners said that the crisis has made self-employment less attractive.

David Richardson, FSB Highlands and Islands Development Manager, said that “small businesses have a vital role to play in the Western Isles economy, which makes the findings in our report all the more concerning”.

He said the sector had many challenges and that “it becomes all the more essential that we do everything in our power to keep our local economies alive and vibrant, especially given underlying concerns about aging and declining populations long-term.”

Sally Lessi, owner of The Anchorage Restaurant in Leverburgh, said “The past year has really highlighted just how vulnerable small-business owners like me are to illness. If I become sick and have to take time off work I will receive little or no financial support from the state, and if I have no-one to cover for me my only source of income – my business – will suffer too.

“The government and its agencies keep saying how important the self-employed are to local economies, so why doesn’t it give us sick pay in the same way as it does for employees? The lack of it is one more reason why people think twice before going into business for themselves, and the sooner the new Scottish Government finds a solution the better.”