FSB: Decline in firms ‘spells trouble’

Official figures published today show that the number of Scottish businesses fell by 8,830 between March 2017 and March 2018 – with a large fall in unregistered enterprises and a smaller decline in registered firms.

Andrew McRae, the Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) Scotland policy chair, said: “A decline in the number of Scottish businesses spells trouble for our ambitions for our economy and our local communities.

“To tackle this problem, we need to see more people in Scotland choose to start-up in business and develop a business environment which helps local firms thrive.

“In the short term, we need to see a Brexit deal which works for smaller firms, not just key sectoral interests and a Scottish budget which puts enterprise at its heart. In the long term, we need a stronger start-up culture; as well as tax and regulatory systems which recognise the difference between multinationals and family firms.”

The statistics also show there are 343,535 small and medium sized firms operating in Scotland, providing an estimated 1.2 million jobs. These businesses account for 99.3 per cent of all private sector businesses in 2018 and more than half (54.9%) of private sector jobs. The new figures also show the number of Scottish employers rose by 915 since last year.

Andrew McRae said: “These figures also underline just how important smaller businesses to the fabric of Scotland. There are roughly three times as many Scots employed by these operators than work in the NHS and our local authorities combined. By giving smaller businesses the best chance to succeed, we can boost prospects for the country as a whole.”