Cost of making smaller firms Covid-secure is affecting business, says report from iwoca

Making businesses Covid-secure is costing smaller firms time and money, with many owners worried they will not be able to afford paying themselves a salary in the next six months, a study suggests.

High streets were deserted during the height of Britain's lockdown. A spokesman said the Government understood how difficult the pandemic has been for small businesses

Owners of small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) say maintaining safety measures is significantly impacting their business.

A survey of more than 1,000 SMEs found that one in four spend over an hour a day making sure their workplace is Covid-secure, costing them more than £1,000.

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Small business lender iwoca said its study also found that one in three SMEs have lost customers and sales since before the pandemic and one in four have fewer staff.

Around two in five respondents said they worry they will not be able to afford paying themselves a salary in the next six months.

Iwoca chief operating officer Seema Desai said: “As restrictions are being eased, many small business owners are chomping at the bit to recover their full potential.”

A Business Department spokesman said: “Our workplace guidance was developed in consultation with businesses, trade unions and industry bodies, and has allowed businesses to reopen safely, minimising the risk of transmission, protecting staff and customers, and supporting our progression to the next stage of lockdown easing.

“We understand how difficult the pandemic has been for small businesses, which is why we have supported businesses throughout the pandemic with an unprecedented £352 billion support package, among the most generous in the world.”