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Coronavirus / Local businesses report 70 job losses during pandemic

A SURVEY of over 100 local businesses about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has shown that respondents have made at least 70 redundancies.

A total of 25 businesses reported making redundancies since March.

Just over 72 per cent of those responding to the survey said the pandemic has seen their business contract.

The survey was carried out in October through Business Gateway and the council.

Around 30 per cent of respondents were in the tourism, leisure and hospitality sector – one of the industries which has struggled the most during the pandemic.

Other businesses which responded included those in food and drink, retail, personal service and construction.

Nearly 90 per cent of the 112 businesses said the pandemic has resulted in drop in turnover or demand, while around one third said there has been a negative impact on the supply chain.

Forty two per cent of businesses said they had experienced reduced cash flow, while 10.71 per cent said they had witnessed a positive impact on demand.

The survey highlighted that across the 112 businesses 428 staff were furloughed.

The average number of redundancies per business which reported making job cuts was 3.5.

Twelve businesses also said they anticipated making more redundancies when the furlough scheme ends.

Five businesses, though, reported increasing their staff numbers.

Half of all respondents said they were “extremely concerned” about the prospect of lost income over the coming months.

Nearly one third of businesses said they would consider more online sales and/or direct delivery to customers once normal trading conditions resume, while one quarter said they would target new customers across the UK.

Thirty five businesses said they would look to diversify towards a new sector or product.

Chairman of Shetland Islands Council’s development committee Alastair Cooper referenced the survey during a meeting of the full council on Wednesday.

He felt that the number of redundancies mentioned in the survey results may not have been widely known.