Challenges and Insights from Covid-19
Edited by Philip McCann and Tim Vorley
Chapter 4: Implications and impacts of the crisis on micro businesses and their future
Small businesses are widely regarded as an important aspect of the productivity puzzle in the UK, representing over 98% of the business base. However, the diversity of small businesses means that supporting sole-traders and micro-businesses is not straightforward - a fact borne out in small business policy over the past three decades. The chapter will review emerging evidence and insights as to the impact of Covid-19 on the activity of sole-traders and micro-businesses, before discussing the appropriateness of the Government's response. As businesses rework their business models there remain questions concerning their survival and resilience, the implications of which will shape the economic recovery and prospect of any future productivity gains (or not). The chapter discusses the potential shake-out of the “long-tail” or “reluctant” self-employed, the differential outlook facing 'tradeable' and 'non-tradable' businesses, and implications of supply chain breakdown as key challenges facing micro businesses. Finally, we conclude with some thoughts on why productivity will still matter and remain salient, whether the term remains in favour or not.
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