Response to Higgins

Ministers accused of failing to provide early fix for firms

Andrew McRae

Andrew McRae: ‘businesses are quickly running out of road’

The Scottish Government has been accused of producing long term plans to help the economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic when many businesses need help to get them through the next six months.

Ministers today issued what was described as an “action plan” to help rebuild businesses that had been shattered during the four-month lockdown.

In a response to a report from the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery, chaired by Benny Higgins, the government offered measures to make it easier for SMEs to compete for public sector contracts and more support for skills.

It said it would “explore options to alleviate planning restraints” and “continue working closely with business leaders to ensure we are doing all we can”.

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But Andrew McRae, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Scotland policy chairman, said these were issues that had been “on the agenda for many years” and more detail was needed on how to achieve them.

He said: “In normal circumstances, Scotland’s smaller business community would warmly welcome many of the commitments made today by Ministers in response to the Higgins review.

“Few would disagree with many of the identified objectives.  For example, for decades FSB has warned that too few local businesses win public contracts, and today we see the Scottish Government promise to reverse this trend.

“Likewise, action to address both patchy broadband infrastructure and the dearth of digital skills have been on the agenda for many years. 

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