Businesses invited to comment

MSPs to review value of regional selective assistance

Gordon Lindhurst MSP and RSA

Gordon Lindhurst: ‘We want business to tell us their experiences’


Scotland’s key government grant support to help companies create jobs is to be scrutinised by a Holyrood committee.

Businesses are being invited to comment on regional selective assistance and whether they think it needs to be changed.

The Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee is looking for a wide range of views from businesses that have received RSA or other financial support from Scottish Enterprise or Highlands and Islands Enterprise over the past ten years.

RSA is Scotland’s main national scheme of financial assistance to industry and has existed since 1970. It is managed and delivered by Scottish Enterprise and offers discretionary grants with the aim of creating and safeguarding jobs.

The Committee is also looking to hear from businesses who have been unsuccessful in their application to RSA or have received financial assistance from another body.

There has been a perception that the agencies awarding RSA grants have favoured larger and overseas companies over small, homegrown businesses.

Committee convener, Gordon Lindhurst, said: “Over the last ten years over 960 projects have received £337 million of RSA investment. This has represented a significant attempt to address regional disparities across Scotland.

“The committee wants to gain an understanding of impact these grants have had and whether grant support could be improved, and I urge businesses who have engaged with this scheme to tell us about their experiences.”

The outcome from this exercise is expected to feed into the upcoming Scottish Government budget plans and policy development.

The key areas that the committee hopes to find answers to are:

  • Does RSA, and other grants, represent good value for money?
  • Could the £18 million to £34 million spent each year on RSA be better used supporting Scotland’s businesses in other ways?
  • To what extent does Regional Selective Assistance support the Scottish Government’s economic goals, as set out in its Economic Strategy and National Performance Framework?
  • How do RSA, and other grants, contribute to “inclusive economic growth”?
  • How do the enterprise agencies measure the impact of RSA?
  • Should RSA change, and if so, how?
  • What due diligence and accountability processes are followed by the enterprise agencies?
  • What progress has been made towards introducing more conditionality?
  • Whether more conditionality should be applied to RSA funding in addition to that announced over the past year.
  • How successful is the claw-back process when investments fail?

Businesses are encouraged to complete a short questionnaire which aims to capture the experiences and views of successful, and unsuccessful, recipients of RSA and other grants. The questionnaire can be found here 

Alternatively, businesses can respond to the call for views here

The deadline for submitting views is Friday 16 August 2019.


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