Warnings have been issued that small businesses in Moray could “stagnate” due to uncertainties surrounding Brexit.
The local Business Gateway team has revealed that firms are being forced to turn to other methods of funding due to banks beginning to restrict lending to the tourism, hospitality and food and drink industries.
Crowdfunding and other lending sources are being investigated by firms as a result.
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Business Gateway insist the market continues to remains “positive” in the region with 70 start-up firms setting up this year until the end of September – which generated 96 jobs.
However, experts believe the knock-on effect of Brexit uncertainties could mean that existing companies are unable to move forward with their plans, which could lead to them to “stagnate”.
Elgin City North councillor Paula Coy is concerned that doubt over the UK’s future with the European Union could have further consequences.
She said: “It’s fantastic to see these new business start-ups but I’m aware that large number of these in Elgin have been started by EU nationals who have come to live in Moray.
“It must be something that will affect other towns too so I do have deep concerns about the effect of this, not just from an economic point of view but from a cultural point of view too.”
Moray Council is currently drawing up an action plan in order to ensure that the public sector and manufacturing industries can continue to tap-into the skills needed in the future.
Senior officers have revealed that some firms have already seen a decline in staff from the continent since the result of the EU referendum.
Heldon and Laich councillor John Cowe, who ran Lossie Seafoods, believes a collapse in the value of the pound is to blame for the decline.
He said: “Half of my staff were foreign nationals and they were clever people, 96% of the product we made was exported.
“They’re not daft, they came here as boyfriend and girlfriend, got married, bought a home and are part of the community.
“The big issue is that they came here to send the money home. A third of that has been lost now.”