Home Inverness colorado loans The problems are still piling up for many of our Highland businesses

The problems are still piling up for many of our Highland businesses

David Richardson, regional development manager at FSB.

The tumultuous events of the past 12 days have gripped the country, with the Elizabethan era coming to a sudden end and the dawn of the time of Charles III.

But, as sad, emotional and challenging as it all is, the minds of many business owners in Inverness and the wider Highlands are preoccupied with events closer to home: their bottom line.

With skyrocketing energy and other costs, interest rates expected to rise further, debts such as rebound loans to be repaid, severe shortages of key personnel and certain materials and, of course, with increasingly fragile consumer demand, it’s no wonder that business confidence is plummeting .

As the FSB and media commentators continually point out, the UK as a whole is in dire straits and businesses need help.

And while the Prime Minister’s recent announcement of energy price caps for businesses as well as domestic users is extremely welcome, we need to know what this means in practice before we can properly assess it.

But the help should not stop there. We want the government to ensure that businesses are not left on the brink once the six-month price cap expires, to reverse the next hike in National Insurance contributions and to reduce fuel taxes and VAT, particularly on non-domestic energy.

We also expect Highland Council to use the nearly £3m Covid Business Support Grant currently underspent in its coffers to support local small businesses through the winter.

Finally, in this time of danger for businesses, economies and local communities, nothing new should be introduced that risks making the situation worse.

The FSB is asking Highland Council to freeze fees and charges in areas such as waste, licensing and planning, as well as rents on its commercial properties for at least two years.

It is very important to note that the introduction of controversial and costly innovations such as the short-term licensing system, the deposit and return system and the local visitor tax should be suspended until the economy stabilizes.

Why play with the life of companies and the jobs they offer?

David Richardson is Highlands and Islands Director for the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

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