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DAVID RICHARDSON: Small businesses are in need of certainty now more than ever

By David Richardson

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David Richardson, regional development manager at FSB.
David Richardson, regional development manager at FSB.

With threats to everything from world peace to household budgets, it’s hard to remember a time when things were less certain than now and, as all owners of small businesses know only too well, uncertainty is the enemy.

For example, tourism businesses must set their prices early to attract advance bookings, but, given the importance of energy costs to bottom lines, how can they without knowing what the UK government will do after its energy price cap expires? Do they guess high and risk frightening customers away, or go low and risk bankrupting themselves?

And what of high street shops, restaurants and hotels? Small, independent businesses like these are essential to communities throughout the Highlands, providing – in addition to jobs – the convenience, personal touch and strong element of community glue that all appreciate.

Sadly, independent shops are under increasing pressure from supermarkets, home deliveries and online, while the lockdowns, Ukraine and post-pandemic economic chaos, are resulting in spiralling costs, staff shortages, debt and very uncertain demand. The mental strain this creates is massive.

Let’s hope the world calms down and our governments do all they can to support small businesses and absolutely nothing to make their lives tougher than they already are.

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