FSB on Scottish Government budget

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes this afternoon outlined the Scottish Government’s spending plans for the year ahead.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Scotland said that many of the measures outlined are to be welcomed, but they may not be sufficient to drive small business recovery. Earlier this week, FSB warned that there are 20,000 fewer businesses in Scotland now than when the pandemic began.

Andrew McRae, FSB’s Scotland policy chair, said: “The measures outlined today will put a little fuel into the tank of Scotland’s small business community. But with another lap of the covid crisis looking likely, policymakers in Edinburgh and London might need to look at other means of helping firms over the line.

“We know that the covid crisis made many traditional Scottish businesses turn to digital technologies, but today we didn’t hear new commitments from the Cabinet Secretary to help firms realise their ambitions on this front. And, spending to reduce carbon emissions could also boost the resilience of local economies, but only if contracts flow to the independent businesses rooted in our communities.

“On rates, the Scottish Government has done the right thing by retaining their vital Small Business Bonus scheme. And retail and hospitality businesses outside the scope of this help will recognise that ongoing, though reduced, support for their sectors is better than a cliff-edge withdrawal. However, there’s a compelling case to further extend the duration and level of this relief for independent operators especially if we’re not out of the woods by the spring.”