FSB’s Highland development manager calls for more collaborative working to meet post-Covid challenges


Businesses hit hard by Covid restrictions must receive grant support, FSB Highlands and Islands development manager David Richardson says. Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Businesses hit hard by Covid restrictions must receive grant support, FSB Highlands and Islands development manager David Richardson says. Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

by David Richardson, Highlands and Islands regional development manager at FSB

The good news is that Highland businesses left 2021 in better heart than they entered it.

According to FSB survey work, one in four Highland firms said they were struggling this winter, compared to three in four this time last year. However, things are still far from rosy, with around a third of businesses thinking that conditions will deteriorate.

Pessimism in the Highlands was centred on rising overheads, staff shortages, the potential for future restrictions, low turnovers and, of course, tightly squeezed margins. About a quarter of business owners warned that their own mental health was under strain as a consequence of the crisis.

So what can be done to improve the situation?

We could start by ensuring that all small businesses hit hard by Covid restrictions are assisted with grant support. Hopefully Omicron will end soon and no knew variants will appear, but in the meantime gaps in government support should be filled.

Individuals and organisations can all do more to support local businesses and their communities by, when possible, buying goods and services from them.

Finally, to help tackle population decline and build for the future, we could all work more constructively together to make our communities even better places to live, work and visit, and even more attractive places to move to.


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