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.
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.
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.”