SFA welcome reopening plan but testing times lie ahead

Friday, 27 November 2020

Responding to the announcement of the easing of restrictions Sven Spollen-Behrens of the Small Firms Association (SFA) said; “Today’s announcement will be a crucial step to ensuring that small non-essential retailers, hair and beauty salons and the hospitality sector are able to plan and prepare for the busy weeks ahead.

“The past nine months have been incredibly challenging for small firms especially those in the experience economy, without premises and further down the supply chain. The small business community continues to recover from months in lockdown and severe trading restrictions and this hardship looks set to continue next year.

“It is therefore vital that all is done to protect the competitiveness of our smallest employers. Despite government relying on small business to reemploy and create jobs next year, the cost of employment is set to increase from January 1st through a rise in the National Minimum Wage. Proposals on the introduction of a statutory sick pay scheme and a pension auto-enrolment system along with increased family leave benefits will threaten the profitability of small firms who will have no ability to pass on such labour increases in their own prices to the market. This means they have no choice but to reduce hours, lay people off or delay recruitment.

“Changes to non-domestic water rates and the recently announced increase in carbon tax are government set costs that will place a further burden on small business owners at a time of crisis and when they are managing a new trading relationship with the UK.

“Meanwhile we continue to urge consumers to shop local and click small where possible this Christmas. This year more important than ever, the Christmas celebrations can add a major economic impetus to the country, to small businesses and help maintain jobs,” concluded Spollen-Behrens.