The SNP has reflected on a year of progress for Scotland’s small business community with business numbers at a record high; more small businesses benefiting from reduced or removed rates; and fewer empty shops on our high streets.
Latest figures show that the number of businesses in Scotland has increased from 270,250 enterprises when the SNP came into office to 361,345 this year, with an increase of 26,090 in the last year alone. The number of businesses supported through the SNP Government’s Small Business Bonus Scheme has also risen this year to 99,959. This has contributed to the lowest retail vacancy rate for four years.
Small Business Saturday, which takes place each year on the first Saturday in December, is a chance to celebrate the contribution of independent shops, cafes, bars and other businesses to the local economy and community.
Commenting, local MSP Kenneth Gibson was proud to say “I back small business” as he joined a local small business to celebrate Small Business Saturday:
“We should reflect on the contribution local retailers make to Scotland’s economic recovery and to ensure a thriving North Ayrshire economy we should shop at local businesses, which are at the heart of our communities, wherever possible. Spending money locally when going out to buy your Christmas food, drink and presents helps revitalise our town centres and supporting small businesses sustains and creates local jobs.
“There are now more businesses in Scotland than at any point since devolution, with many benefiting from reduced or no business rates under the Small Business Bonus Scheme. Rejuvenating our high streets is crucial and that’s why the SNP Government has devolved business rates powers to local councils and is investing in town centre regeneration.
“I met Vera Sweeney, owner of a lovely gift shop “A Gift Tae Gie” in West Kilbride on Saturday just a few days after its accolade as the best village high street in the UK in the Great British High Street of The Year Awards 2015 and bought a few Christmas goodies. This award shows just what small businesses can achieve with the support of the community. “
Ada Galloway, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Ayrshire Branch Chair, added:
“It’s great that prominent local figures such as Kenneth Gibson MSP are coming out and backing local small businesses.
“It has been a tough few years for the high street and, even with the economy picking up again, challenges remain. Small Business Saturday is our chance as shoppers to recognise the contribution that small, independent businesses make to our community – but maintaining a healthy town centre is everyone’s job.”