Small businesses need snow support

The Essex Federation of Small Businesses has today warned the heavy snowfall will cause problems for many of the 60,000 small companies across the county.

James Hore

The Essex Federation of Small Businesses has today warned the heavy snowfall will cause problems for many of the 60,000 small companies across the county.

Iain Wicks, the federation's chairman, called for town centres to be given high-priority to ensure ice is cleared as quickly as possible.

He also suggested home-working could be the best answer for some businesses to tackle the challenges presented by the snow.

He said: “Serious snowfall is a challenge to businesses as transport problems mean fewer people make it into work, meaning fewer sales on the high street, and parents staying at home to look after children because schools are shut.

“Small businesses in particular are at risk as they see sales take a hit because of the bad weather, as they don't have the financial support of national chains behind them but they are resourceful and will do their best to stay open and keep delivering services to their customers.

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“We would encourage as many small businesses as possible that can operate from home to do so, perhaps getting telephones diverted and using the internet to run their business, to ease traffic problems and demands on the emergency services.

“Having faced a difficult year, with heavy snowfall a year ago and the threat of swine flu through the year, we know that many small firms will have put continuity plans in place where possible and are prepared to cope with challenges such as these.

“Essex FSB expects that as the bad weather continues, small businesses will really start to be inventive and come up with practical ways of providing services to customers.”