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FSB demands local firms win more public contracts

Andrew McRae

Andrew McRae: too many small firms lose out to multinationals

Small firms want the Scottish Government to make good on a pledge to ensure local firms win more public contracts as figures show an alarmingly low number securing deals.

Only 5% of the Scottish public sector’s £14 billion procurement budget is spent with firms with fewer than 10 employees even though they account 94% of all businesses in Scotland.

The Federation of Small Businesses says the value of procurement contracts won by smaller firms has been in decline in Scotland since 2016 despite Scottish Government promises to ensure more work is directed to the sector. 

Andrew McRae, FSB’s Scotland policy chairman, said: “Too many small businesses in Scotland lose out to multinationals when it comes to winning public work.


“Many will have been pleased to see the SNP and Greens agree to change the systems the Scottish public sector uses to buy goods and services. 

“These reforms could make it easier for more locally-based firms to win valuable green contracts.”

In a report published ahead of the First Minister delivering her government’s programme, FSB argues that Holyrood should provide paternity and adoption social security support for self-employed parents, a move they say could encourage more people to set up in business.

Further, FSB says Ministers should take inspiration from New Zealand and the United States by establishing a new small business unit within the Scottish Government.

Mr McRae said ministers must also do more for the country’s self-employed “who are regularly forgotten during policy debate”.

He said: “We’re making the case for new protections for those that work for themselves to take the edge off the risks of setting up on your own.

“Small firms also want someone fighting their corner in Scotland’s corridors of power. In New Zealand and the USA, they’ve designed systems to ensure policymakers don’t just think about big business and the public sector when developing proposals. Now is the time for Scotland to do the same.”

Scottish Conservative Leader Douglas Ross has urged the Scottish Government set ambitious targets to create more jobs and grow the Scottish economy faster than anywhere else in the United Kingdom.

“The Programme for Government has to be for the whole country, not only for nationalists,” he said.


Douglas Ross: first big test of new government

“It would be peak recklessness to risk jobs just now. Threats to key industries, such as oil and gas, must be ruled out in favour of positive moves to invest in infrastructure projects for the long term and help workers increase their skills in the short term.

“This is the first big test of this new nationalist coalition of chaos. They have a choice to make between protecting jobs or promoting their ideology.”

Call to support Leith energy hub

Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce has thrown its weight behind an ambitious £40million project to create a renewable energy hub in Leith.

Liz McAreavey, chief executive of the chamber, said: “Edinburgh Chamber unequivocally supports the plans put forward by Forth Ports to create Leith Renewables Hub in the docks, which will support thousands of jobs in our city and help to underscore our future economic resilience.

Liz McAreavey: port investment underpins the economy

“Forth Ports is investing to reinforce the vital role of the Firth of Forth in Scotland’s clean energy transition.

“It will further underpin the position of Scotland’s Central Belt as a leading area of engineering and manufacturing skills and capabilities. 

“The potential is enormous; the private sector leadership exists; and the investment is demonstrable. To make it happen, we need political will to match political rhetoric if our nation and its capital are to enjoy a brighter, greener, wealthier future.”

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