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SMEs want share of public contracts and new rights

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SMEs want parental support

Small businesses are calling for the next government to ring fence a share of public contracts for SMEs and provide more welfare support for the self-employed.

The new demands from the Federation of Small Businesses emerge after a survey revealed that only one in five business owners feel the Scottish government values their role in the economy.

Most (60%) say the Covid crisis has made self-employment less attractive.

The FSB wants the next government to pilot so-called “bread funds:” which offer a collective insurance approach for self-employed individuals who could not otherwise access sick pay.

Businessses want policymakers in Edinburgh to provide maternity, paternity and adoption payments to the self-employed via Social Security Scotland.

There is also a call for the next Government to deliver a Small Business Recovery Act that would ensure smaller firms win a fair share of public contracts. It would also establish a new small business team at the heart of government.

Andrew McRae, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Scotland policy chairman, said: “The coronavirus crisis has hit Scotland’s self-employed and small business community for six.

“While governments in Edinburgh and London argue they’ve done everything in their power to mitigate the impact of this crisis, there’s no doubt the pandemic will have an enduring impact on this group who will be vital to the recovery.

“There are twice as many self-employed people in Scotland than NHS workers. But our representatives at Holyrood haven’t spent enough time discussing how to support and protect these 330,000 workers.”

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Mark Diffley, director of Diffley Partnership which conducted the research for the FSB, said: “This in-depth research clearly shows that the covid crisis has had a substantial impact on Scotland’s small business and self-employed community.

“Firms are worried about the overall condition of Scotland’s economy, and fear that setting up on your own is now less appealing. On the other hand, when business owners were asked about their own enterprise there’s a surprising amount of optimism among local firms. 

“Prospective MSPs looking to rebuild local economies and understand the priorities of local businesses should dig deep into this research that the Diffley team were proud to produce.”

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