Sole traders hit hardest by Covid pandemic – research

Nearly 60% of sole traders are trading less – or not at all – even as Covid restrictions ease

EXCLUSIVE: Sole traders may have been disproportionately impacted by Covid restrictions with 58 per cent are either not trading or trading less than pre-Covid.

What’s more, sole traders – who account for 59 per cent of all UK businesses – are twice as likely not to be trading at all, with 14 per cent in this predicament compared with 7 per cent of limited companies.

Almost half of sole traders (46 per cent) worry they won’t be able to afford paying themselves a salary in the next six months, according to research by small business lender iwoca.

>See also: Nearly 300,000 sole traders face increased tax bills

Their second-biggest worry is being able to afford new stock (28 per cent) and then repaying emergency Covid-19 financial help such as a Bounce Back Loan (20 per cent).

And nearly one in four sole traders will take zero days off in the coming year as they struggle to keep their businesses afloat. Even the majority of sole traders – 59 per cent – plan to take fewer than 10 days off over the next year (compared to 50 per cent of limited companies).

Although nearly a quarter of limited companies say there are making fewer sales due to Covid-secure workplace measures, this rises to almost one third (32 per cent) for sole traders.

>See also: Why the Government’s new insolvency bill is bad news for sole traders

Nearly 4 in 10 sole traders (39 per cent) say they have had fewer customers through the doors because of having to stay Covid-secure, compared with 29 per cent of limited companies.

Seema Desai, chief operating officer of iwoca, said: “The pandemic has hit sole traders particularly hard. We need our sole traders back on their feet.”

Further reading

What is the definition of a sole trader and being self-employed

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Tim Adler

Tim Adler is group editor of Small Business, Growth Business and Information Age. He is a former commissioning editor at the Daily Telegraph, who has written for the Financial Times, The Times and the...

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  1. I have a pub.
    No wage. Iv got covid
    No rent reduction. Its 420 a week. No staff can’t afford them. Major gas company going fir the throat. Opus energy are the worse
    Accountant didn’t do my books so missed all 4 grants and now the 5th is our o can’t claim that either I’m doomed

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