SCC: One in four businesses facing ‘severe’ financial consequences if Covid-19 restrictions extended

SCC: One in four businesses facing ‘severe’ financial consequences if Covid-19 restrictions extended

Almost a quarter of Scottish businesses are facing immediate financial peril should the Scottish Government extend covid-19 restrictions today, according to the Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC).

A snap poll of nearly 700 companies has revealed that many firms are struggling with existing measures – and that 24% face severe financial consequences if vaccine passports and home working measures are widened.

Ministers will meet today to decide whether enhanced or new restrictions are required. Last night they were briefed on the scale of business opposition to such a move.

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of firms polled by the Scottish Chambers of Commerce Network are opposed to more restrictions, with 45% already feeling that the measures currently in place are no longer justified.

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce have already written to the Scottish Government stating that it is essential that Scotland’s business community is fully consulted before any additional economic deterrents are introduced.

The survey of Chamber of Commerce business communities across Scotland was conducted last week after Deputy First Minister John Swinney indicated that the government was considering new measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The overall sample included a significant upweight from Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber business respondents, which showed even stronger business sentiment against the proposed measures. It found 69% of businesses are against further restrictions being introduced, with 28% warning that it would have severe financial implications for their business.

Dr Liz Cameron, chief executive of the SCC, said: “Any reintroduction of restrictions will act as a painful economic deterrent for businesses across Scotland. As we forewarned last week, we urge ministers not to take a massive step backwards in our economic recovery from the pandemic which would place thousands of firms and jobs at risk.

“It is critical that our economic recovery does not lag behind that of competitors across the globe. Going backwards at this stage will put our recovery at risk, create further uncertainty and undermine consumer confidence.

“If restrictions are to be reintroduced under legislation, then companies will of course be forced to accept them, but Ministers must urgently outline the evidence for these decisions, detail what financial support the Scottish Government will make available to affected sectors and provide an end point to burdensome restrictions.”

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