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Tories paint 'grim picture'

Business Gateway support slumps to 8-year low

Murdo Fraser

Murdo Fraser: ‘extremely concerning’ data

The number of start-up firms receiving support from the Scottish Government’s flagship Business Gateway scheme has dropped to an eight-year low.

New figures have revealed that 8,746 new businesses received help from the organisation last year, a 15% fall since 2009.

The total sum invested – £12.6m – is also at its lowest, £1 million lower than eight years ago. 

Statistics obtained by the Scottish Conservatives also revealed the birth and date rate of businesses north of the border is worse than the UK average.

According to ONS figures, Scotland’s business birth rate of 12.5% is worse than every English region, and only marginally better than Wales and Northern Ireland. 

Shadow finance secretary Murdo Fraser said the data exposed the SNP’s anti-business agenda, warning the overall situation could get worse still after it hiked income tax in the budget.

He said: “Business Gateway provides essential support to many start-up businesses right across the country.

“These are the firms we hope will create jobs, boost growth and create a stronger economy overall for Scotland.

“So it’s extremely concerning to learn fewer have been using the free support of Business Gateway, and it’s yet another indication of the cost of having an anti-business SNP government.

“If you take these findings along with the fact more Scottish businesses are dying, while fewer are being created, it paints a grim picture.

“But instead of seeking to improve this situation in the budget, Derek Mackay [Finance Secretary] went against the wishes of the business community, and hiked taxes for hundreds of thousands of Scots.”

The number of business start-ups supported by Business Gateway in the last eight years are as follows:

2009/10 – 10,249

2010/11 – 10,896

2011/12 – 10,708

2012/13 – 9312

2013/14 – 9805

2014/15 – 9288

2015/16 – 8765

2016/17 – 8746


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