More Scots firms helped

Scottish Enterprise responds to critics with more RSA for Scots

Derek Mackay (at SNP conf)

Derek Mackay: ‘helping businesses grow’ (pic: Terry Murden)

Scottish Enterprise last year offered 69 regional selective assistance (RSA) grants worth £24.5m to businesses, a 75% increase on the £10.5m offered in the previous year.

It has also refocused the grant towards supporting more Scotland-based companies following complaints that it is too willing to help overseas investors who often cut short their plans.

Figures for 2018/19 are published as Scotland’s key government grant support to help companies create jobs is facing scrutiny by a Holyrood committee. Businesses are being invited to comment on whether they think RSA offers value for money and needs to be changed.

The grants in the last financial year relate to projects with planned capital expenditure of £316.4m, which are expected to create or safeguard 2,394 jobs in Scotland.

The figures, published today in Scottish Enterprise’s RSA annual report, highlighted that SMEs accounted for 68 of the 69 accepted offers, with a total grant value of £17.9m, planned investment of £64.4m and 1,918 new or safeguarded jobs. 

The report also highlights that Scottish-owned companies received a greater sum than in any of the previous three years – accounting for 86% of the total value and representing an almost 50% increase on the sum offered to Scottish companies in 2017/18.

The increase in value of offers has in turn encouraged larger projects to come forward, with a 37% increase in anticipated grant-supported jobs compared to last year and a 576% increase in planned capital expenditure.

The average grant to Scottish-owned SMEs rose by £100,000 compared to 2017/18. Companies owned elsewhere in the UK accounted for six offers, while four offers were for foreign-owned companies.

Scottish Enterprise was criticised last year for failing to access a £10m budget through the Scottish-European Growth Co-Investment Programme.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said: “We are committed to helping businesses grow and attracting new business to Scotland.

“Along with our R&D grants programme, RSA is one of the main ways in which Scottish Enterprise can support economic development and it’s great to see businesses are taking up this support in such numbers.”

Jane Martin, MD of Business Services and Advice at Scottish Enterprise, said: “The fact that 99% of offers were for SMEs demonstrates that we recognise their importance to transforming Scotland’s economy.

“It’s particularly pleasing to see a 37% increase in the number of jobs we expect to be created or safeguarded as a direct result of these grants, generating positive impacts for people across Scotland by investing in its business base.”

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