Financial support still essential for small businesses says Holyrood committee

20% of small businesses would close their doors if they did not receive financial support from the small business bonus scheme
By Cameron Ward
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Picture: Derek MacKay Official Website

This was a revelation that was discussed during the Local Government and Communities Committee meeting this morning. During which the Secretary for Finance and Constitution, Derek MacKay MSP (pictured) gave evidence over recommendations made by former RBS chair Kenneth Barclay, about the effectiveness of the SBBS. The Cabinet Secretary said the SBBS was a “lifeline to small businesses” and that the “strength of the economy is measured by our GDP and employment”.

The SBBS was introduced to support economic growth amongst small businesses. However, Barclay’s recommendation is that this scheme needs to be evaluated. One point made in Barclay’s report was that ‘modest’ annual contributions should be paid in order to receive the benefits of local services. Payments would be dependent on the size of the business. Yet, Mr MacKay said today that not everyone should pay a fee for these benefits.

Barclay’s review concluded the recommendation by stating any supposed cost will depend on the breadth and scope of the revaluation, and that the revaluation should consider all businesses included in the scheme. Barclay believes all possible findings should be implemented before the next revaluation in 2022.

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Former RBS chair Kenneth Barclay  | Picture: Google

The committee also discussed new relief for day nurseries to support childcare provision. Barclay believes ensuring ‘convenient, affordable and accessible childcare’ is an important factor to supporting economic growth.

The relief would cost £7 million a year over a three year period. The relief fund would apply to public, private and third sectors in childcare. The cabinet Secretary declared that this proposal would be discussed at later date. He indicated not every recommendation needs to be implemented.

The committee will consider the evidence presented by the Cabinet Secretary in private, with an official report on the meeting due to be published this Friday.

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