Fears have been raised that he early onset of winter in Scotland will hit small businesses hard by extending the Christmas wind-down period.
Ruth McKay, vice-chairman of the Edinburgh branch of the Federation of Small Businesses, says the state of the economy is already crippling many start-ups and SMEs.
And she fears that this week's heavy snowfalls will prolong the mid-winter break to such as extent that many small businesses will struggle to cope.
Ms McKay, co-founder of Edinburgh-based UNIQ, which provides a business mentoring service for start-ups and SMEs, says that many small businesses have been paying a heavy price for the trend in recent years to have an extended festive break.
Now, with early snows making transport near impossible for many people, she fears that the tail end of 2010 will be a particularly bleak time for many of the businesses the federation represents.
“A prolonged Christmas wind-down is absolutely the last thing small business people, such as professionals and some service providers, need,” she said. “Countless small firms are struggling to keep their heads above water because of the current economic climate and I fear that this cold snap, coming so soon before the traditional festive break, will kill many off.”
Ms McKay added: “Schools throughout Scotland have been closed this week because of the snow. That's meant that many people who run small businesses have had to stay at home. And while many are able to work online, many can't. They're taking a financial hit they simply cannot afford.”
In January this year, after snow gridlocked much of the country, the Federation of Small Business estimated that lost productivity due to the weather could result in losses of at least £1.2bn to the UK's economy.
Notes to Editors:
For more information on UNIQ – The Academy for Entrepreneurs visit www.souniq.co.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0131 447 0438. Ruth McKay is available for comment on a range of issues relating to small businesses, sales, marketing and operations.