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Federation of Small Businesses Scotland survey reveals that more than a third of the Highlands and Islands businesses forced to shut doors during the Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown fear they may never reopen

By Hector MacKenzie

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General news.
General news.

MORE than a third of the Highland businesses forced to shut their doors during the coronavirus lockdown fear they may never reopen, a new survey has revealed.

The survey, conducted across the Highlands, the Northern and Western Isles and Argyll, found that 36 per cent had serious concerns about their future.

It also found that almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of Highlands & Islands firms have been forced to close since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, compared to about half of Scottish firms (53 per cent) and four in ten (41 per cent) across the UK as a whole.

And, on the back of the research by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), the organisation has called for additional sustained government support.

The FSB’s Highlands & Islands development manager, David Richardson, said: “Given our highly seasonal visitor-based economy, many [businesses] are seeing the opportunity to make money this year slip through their fingers as lockdown continues towards the normally busy summer season, and over a third of all smaller businesses are on a knife-edge, worrying that they might never reopen at all.

He added: “When the time comes to begin re-opening, they won’t be able to go from nought to sixty overnight – for many it will take time to staff up and reactivate supply chains, and it will take time for customer numbers to rebuild.

“However, revival must not be down to businesses alone. We must all – governments, big businesses, and the public – strain every sinew to support our local businesses and give them the best possible chance of survival.”

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