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FM’s programme a mixed blessing for small firms, says FSB

Nicola-Sturgeon_detail

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has revealed her administration’s legislative programme.  

Andy Willox, the FSB’s Scottish policy convenor, said: “The First Minister’s proposals are a mixed blessing for Scotland’s smaller firms.

“Parents and childcare providers will be pleased to see the Scottish Government heed FSB calls for a new nursery rates relief. Rural firms and communities will cheer the commitment shown to universal superfast broadband.

“But many retailers and businesses reliant on vehicles will be concerned with the First Minister’s plans. They’ll need to be convinced that we won’t see well-intentioned proposals turn into unworkable laws. For example, new low emission zones will require careful design and delicate implementation.”

On the Scottish Government’s response to the Barclay review, Andy said: “The early measures which the Scottish Government have proposed to improve the rates system are steps in the right direction. But other key action points may not be able to wait until the end of the year.

“The First Minister is absolutely right to recognise that because many nurseries operate from specialist premises they don’t get existing help. New rates relief for them – given their crucial role in local economies and communities – is a very sensible move.”

In June, Zero Waste Scotland was tasked with investigating a practical design for a deposit & return scheme. FSB is alarmed to see a decision in principle by Ministers with so little detail about implementation available. 

Andy Willox said: “Virtually every Scottish pub, off-license, grocer, deli, hotel and newsagent would have to make big changes if a container deposit scheme was put in place. Smaller operators are likely to find compliance with such a levy more difficult than their larger counterparts. 

“With the government’s own implementation study incomplete, it is alarming that Ministers seem bent on such a proposal no matter the implications for firms, consumers and our existing waste systems. We can’t see how this will not increase the cost of doing business for many local traders.”