At least 15 Glasgow businesses fear staff will be made redundant when the furlough scheme ends.

Councillor Thomas Kerr, leader of the Glasgow Tories at Glasgow City Council, said he has been contacted by several small businesses who say redundancies will have to be made once the UK government’s job retention scheme, otherwise known as furlough, runs out in October.

This comes as non-essential shops reopened in Scotland on Monday as part of the second phase of the coronavirus lockdown easing.

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Mr Kerr said: "I have spoken with 15 small businesses based in the City Centre who are preparing to make staff redundant because when they re-open they don’t believe they will be able to afford wages.

"There is also a huge issue for licensed premises and that is that in August they are expected to pay their licensing fees for the coming year despite not making a penny for months and possibly for some even more months to come. Glasgow City Council has asked the Scottish Government to wave this payment for a year – we’re still waiting to hear back.

Mr Kerr said pubs and clubs may still have to pay licensing fees, despite not being open for business.

He said: “I think Glasgow City Council needs to look at different ideas on how to support them –innovative ways to support businesses as we emerge from lockdown. Looking at places like Belfast City Council that has introduced a temporary applications process for ‘Pavement Cafes’ and also waived the usual application fees.

The Scottish Government has a lot of work they could be doing including reducing the 2m rule, scrapping these license fees for a year and launching a government lead campaign to encourage people to shop local.”

Nicola Sturgeon refused to follow England last week in reducing the two-metre rule to a “one-metre plus” rule.

David Londsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “The economic crisis wrought by coronavirus is threatening the longevity of otherwise viable retailers, following months of greatly reduced or next to no turnover as a result of fourteen weeks of lockdown.

“Even before the crisis the shop vacancy rate in Scotland stood at 13%. Unless retail sales pick up over the coming months then rents, service charges and other fixed costs will pose an increasing challenge for retailers.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Licensing fees are set by individual Licensing Boards and should be set to cover the costs of operating the alcohol licensing system.

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The Scottish Government would expect all Licensing Boards to take a pragmatic approach in this area in light of the challenges faced by licensed premises who have had to close during the lockdown.”

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: “The council has set up a City Services group that is working closely with businesses on, among other things, extending or securing permits and licences as restrictions are eased. No fees are being charged where businesses are seeking to use an occasional licence to trade outdoors. In terms of existing annual licences, we have automatically

extended any due during the emergency period and, beyond that, are awaiting guidance from the Scottish Government.”