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Spend more with local firms, West of Scotland councils are told

Councils in the West of Scotland should spend more with local firms to boost local growth, says FSB. 

Figures uncovered by FSB show that some of the councils in the West of Scotland spend much less with local SMEs than other councils, with the average Scottish council spending around 20% of their procurement budget with smaller firms in their area in 2015/16. 

West Dunbartonshire Council, East Renfrewshire Council, East Dunbartonshire Council are among the worst performers in Scotland, with each delivering only 5.8%, 7.3% and 9.2% of their budget with local smaller firms. At the same time, Scotland’s best performing councils include North Lanarkshire Council (29.3%), Argyll & Bute Council (27.3%) and Inverclyde Council (26.9%). 

FSB believes that smaller businesses are a vital part of the local economy and that they should get a fair share of the local authority’s procurement spend. 

Jim Crichton, who runs E&S Electrical in Cumbernauld and also secretary of FSB Lanarkshire Branch, said: “We won public contracts in the past, but things are getting more and more complicated and extremely time-consuming. I don’t feel the amount of paperwork and the number of criteria you need to meet really help. I want councils to do whatever they can to help companies like us win contracts.”

FSB’s research shows that for every £1 spent with a small or medium-sized business 63p was re-spent in the local area compared to 40p in every £1 spent with a larger business.

Hisashi Kuboyama, FSB’s development manager for the West of Scotland, said: “Council budget is under significant pressure. That’s why it is important that they squeeze every drop of value out of their spending power by targeting it on their local economy.

“We’re calling on councils in the West of Scotland to increase their spending with local firms by 2% per year, which will deliver a significant boost to the local economy and help create jobs.”