Businesses ‘need more guidance’ in order to leave lockdown

Scottish Chambers of Commerce poll shows the vast majority of firms continue to fear for their survival.

Businesses say they need guidance.
Businesses say they need guidance.

Almost 70% of businesses in Scotland have said they need more guidance to enable them to come out of lockdown, according to a survey.

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce poll shows while the vast majority of firms continue to fear for their survival, there are signs companies are benefiting from access to a range of Government support schemes.

More than half of businesses – 58% – surveyed said they would need a week or less to get back up and running under a partial or complete end of the lockdown.

But 69% said they need “clear advice and guidance” from the Scottish Government to make a recovery.

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Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “Scottish businesses are bruised and it is still the case some are likely to fail.

“But those that are ready and able to get back to work are showing some signs of confidence they could make it through.

“What is clearly needed now is guidance, specific to sectors, on how to return to work in a way that is safe for employees, customers and the wider population.”

She added: “This survey shows that support from the range of schemes launched by both the Scottish and UK Governments are having an impact.

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“However, as well as need for guidelines there is still demand for continued support to ensure that businesses lead us out of this economic collapse as soon as conditions permit.

“Direct support to ensure employment doesn’t collapse is important but Government should also be focused on areas such as infrastructure investment, childcare and skills development as a means of supporting business in the recovery period.”

The survey also found calls for further financial support are still deemed necessary by 54% of respondents.

Up to 87% of businesses said loss of income is their chief risk to survival, while a further 63% cited declines in cash flow as their most significant threat.

More than one in five businesses – 22% – said they face imminent collapse in the next two months, while 43% fear they will not be able to survive if lockdown conditions continue.

The survey had 444 responses and was conducted from May 6 to May 14.

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