At the same time as Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron praised the UK Government for deferring VAT payments, HMRC sent out reminders that the next quarter’s payments were due, above.

Protecting the region’s businesses is a crucial part of the fight against the coronavirus virus said Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron.

Mr Cameron, the Conservative Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Finance, said: “While protecting the most vulnerable people in our communities must be the number one priority during this crisis, we should also take action to protect the economic health of the Highlands and Islands. 

“To do that we must get behind our small businesses and the self-employed who will be understandably very anxious about what the future may hold for them.

“I am therefore pleased that the Chancellor has outlined an extensive raft of measures of support, including scaling up the Business Interruption Loan Scheme, providing government grants which will cover 80 per cent of the salary of retained workers up to a total of £2,500 a month, and deferring the next three months of VAT.

“We are also pushing both the Scottish and UK Governments to consider further help for the self-employed.

“All this should help secure jobs and provide an injection of confidence, but I would really like feedback directly from local business-owners.

“Please drop me a line at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Any information received will be treated in strict confidence.”

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil is calling on the Chancellor to introduce measures to assist and protect the incomes of the self-employed during this unprecedented emergency. “I am hearing from many self-employed islanders who are obviously very concerned that they are facing financial hardship as a result of Covid-19.

"The SNP want the UK government to use the tax and welfare system to introduce a guaranteed income for everyone, raise UK Statutory Sick Pay to the EU average, and strengthen welfare protections by increasing Child Benefit and making Universal Credit more flexible.  I urge the Chancellor to make that happen so we can ensure no one is left behind."