Cocktail of elation and worry for small firms as FM winds down restrictions

Press Releases 3 Aug 2021

FSB Scotland reacts to the First Minister's announcement that Scotland will move beyond Level 0 restrictions on 9 August.

This afternoon First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that the bulk of covid restrictions in Scotland will be lifted next week. 

Andrew McRae, the Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) Scotland policy chair, said: “Scottish business leaders will feel a cocktail of elation and worry as they absorb this afternoon’s statement from the First Minister. 

“Firms will be relieved that the bulk of the remaining restrictions will be lifted. This will give many businesses the opportunity to increase capacity, create jobs and drive growth. While many operators will choose to retain working practices and staff protections developed during the crisis, this increased flexibility will allow firms to move in the right direction for them. 

“But the removal of the public health restrictions doesn’t guarantee the recovery of either an individual business or a local economy. Operators now face trading conditions permanently changed by the crisis and new debt that they’ll need to manage in the months and years to come. Some business leaders are nervous that the sacrifices they’ve made will be forgotten.

“Ministers in Edinburgh and London have an opportunity to bolster rising Scottish business optimism by helping firms get back on their feet. That means keeping a lid on overheads they control, like taxes and charges, and plainly communicating the remaining rules. Policymakers need to take action to help firms get the skills and labour they need to adapt to a world that the pandemic changed. And we’ll need long-term investment to boost our town and city centres hit for six by the Covid crisis.”