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Next Scots government ‘must favour small firms’

Andrew McRae

Andrew McRae: ‘small firms hit for six’

Small Businesses should get targeted help from the next Scottish government through a range of support measures to help them recover from the pandemic, according the sector’s trade group.

The Federation of Small Businesses Scotland says these firms now carry more than £2.4bn of covid debt and has called for a Small Business Recovery Act in the first year of the new parliament.

This would set binding local procurement targets for public bodies and look to reform the commercial property market to better protect small tenants.

The legislation would also pave the way for a specialist small business unit to advise ministers and Bute House, taking inspiration from the US Small Business Administration (SBA).

The SBA was established in the 1950s to “maintain and strengthen the nation’s economy by enabling the establishment and viability of small businesses and by assisting in the economic recovery of communities after disasters”.

Setting out the FSB’s manifesto for the Scottish elections next May, Andrew McRae, its Scotland policy chairman, said: “Scotland’s small businesses have been hit for six by this year’s pandemic.

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“But the same firms are crucial to jobs, to growth, and – as the crisis showed – to local communities. That’s why we’re calling on all sitting and aspiring MSPs to get behind our blueprint for small business recovery.”

He added: “Even when the current restrictions are lifted, Scotland’s small business community will take years to recover, not least because they’re now carrying billions of pounds of debt. To help them out, we want to see the Scottish Parliament to make sure these firms get a fair share of public contracts and are treated fairly in the property market.

“But we also know that small business interests can be easily forgotten during the heat of a political debate. And these businesses support many thousands of jobs across the length and breadth of Scotland.

“This is why we need to put a voice for small business into the heart of the Scottish Government, to ensure ministers think small at every turn and respond quickly to local economic crises.”

The influential small business campaign group is urging all candidates and parties to sign-up to the delivery of the legal protections, and the other policies outlined in FSB’s manifesto called From Recovery to Prosperity. 



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