Traders and small business owners in Helensburgh are being invited to attend a meeting hosted by the town’s Community Council (HCC) later this month.

The meeting will be held at Victoria Halls at 6:30pm on Wednesday, March 15, with representatives from HCC, Destination Helensburgh and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) present.

Challenges facing Helensburgh’s small business will be discussed, such as sharply rising energy bills, changes to non-domestic rates, and increases in rent.

The meeting is open to all local traders, small businesses, and self-employed residents.

The Small Business Index shows that businesses confidence is currently at its lowest on record, with the exception of Covid lockdowns.

It sits at -50 points for Scotland, down on the -45 reported in the previous quarter. This is also significantly lower than the same quarter in 2021, when it sat at -22.

Wendy Hamilton, FSB area leader for the west of Scotland and owner of Grasshopper Toys, said: “Helensburgh’s small business community has endured an unprecedented sequence of challenges over the last two and a half years.

“Rising inflation, increasing energy prices, and staff shortages to name a few. The constant battle to just survive during this cost-of-doing-business crisis means businesses’ confidence is very low.

“This meeting, hosted by the Helensburgh Community Council and supported by FSB and Destination Helensburgh, will be an excellent opportunity for small businesses to raise issues and concerns they face, whilst generating ideas about how to work together for the benefit of all.”

The meeting’s agenda includes promoting local businesses and marketing the town to visitors, as well as an open forum for general discussion.