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The Highland Times

News From and Around The Highlands of Scotland

SNP The Only Party That Will Stand Up for Scotland’s Businesses


Following the launch of its Business Manifesto, the SNP has said it is the only party standing up for businesses in Scotland with bold policies that will create jobs and drive economic recovery, as well as being the only party offering a route back to the EU.

In Government the SNP has provided over £3 billion of pandemic support to businesses and as Scotland’s economy starts to open up again many businesses will receive restart grants of between £7,000 and £19,500 to help them prepare for re-opening.

Retail, leisure and hospitality firms will also get 100% Business Rates relief this year to help get them back on their feet – far more generous than the three months offered by the Tories in England.

The SNP’s manifesto for business pledges the following:

To continue the Small Business Bonus scheme, which benefits more than 100,000 businesses, invest £100 million to help SMEs get access to the right digital skills and equipment, support a 500% increase in the number of employee owned businesses by 2030, and create a mechanism to support more employee buyouts.

To gradually reduce the Large Business Supplement to ensure the largest businesses pay the same combined poundage in Scotland as in England, explore the possibility of levying a higher poundage on properties where the owner is registered in a tax haven, and maintain the Business Growth Accelerator and fresh start scheme.

To establish a £10 million fund to allow companies to pilot and explore the benefits of a four-day working week and support a review – in partnership with trade unions and businesses – of how working practices could be adapted to meet the needs of the future economy.

To create a dedicated Women’s Business Centre backed by £50 million, a £20 million Rural Entrepreneur Fund and deliver a National Challenge competition, providing funding of up to £50 million to the project or projects with the greatest potential to transform Scotland.

To deliver a national network of world class facilities – backed by £30 million – to develop new tech start-ups that grow to offer jobs, ensure they are accessible virtually for businesses in rural areas, implement net zero data centres and support the creation of 5G Innovation hubs and districts.

To increase investment to £7 billion by 2025/26 through the National Infrastructure Mission, supporting 45,000 jobs, and deliver 100,000 new homes over the next ten years as part of a £16 billion investment.

To explore the introduction of a new national digital sales tax, publish a Retail Strategy to help the sector thrive, build on the Scotland Loves Local campaign, encouraging people to spend locally by piloting local loyalty schemes, and introduce a new £10 million Scotland Loves Local fund to revitalise high streets.

To continue to push the UK Government to secure access to the Single Market for those sectors currently without barriers, increase the number of trade and investment hubs, assess options for direct links to international markets, and implement our proposal for Scottish Green Ports.

The SNP has also pledged to invest an additional £500 million to support new jobs and

re-skill people for the jobs of the future, establish a new Green Jobs Workforce Academy to help people secure work in the low carbon economy, and invest £100 million in our Green Jobs fund, investing alongside businesses and organisations to support new and increased opportunities for green job creation across Scotland.

Commenting, Scotland’s Business Minister and SNP candidate for Cumbernauld & Kilsyth, Jamie Hepburn (pictured), said:

“As we start to emerge from the Covid crisis, we will harness Scotland’s innovation and ingenuity to create jobs and drive a strong and green economic recovery.

“Whilst the Tories and Labour voted to drag Scotland out of the EU against our will – causing untold damage to our businesses and exports – the SNP in Government did what it could with its limited powers to mitigate the impact of Brexit and the pandemic, and champion Scotland’s businesses.

“We provided over £3 billion of support to businesses to help them through the pandemic, extended the 100% Business rates relief for a year and ensured Scotland has both the lowest business rates poundage in the UK and the most generous relief schemes.

“If re-elected, we will continue to stand up for businesses because we know their success will be key to securing Scotland a strong and green recovery.

“In the first six months of the next parliament, an SNP Government will deliver a new 10-year National Strategy for Economic Transformation, setting out the steps we will take to deliver a green economic recovery and support new, good, green jobs, businesses and industries for the future.

“We will work with industry, trade unions and academics to create a new Council for

Economic Transformation, which will shape this strategy and guide its implementation, and we will remain committed to investing in SMEs, support women and entrepreneurs to develop their ideas, and launch a National Challenge Competition to transform Scotland.

“Our National Transition Training Fund will support workers whose jobs are at risk – and

provide retraining opportunities for high tech, high skilled jobs, as well as the provision of green skills to support Scotland’s transition to net zero.

“It is only by voting SNP and re-electing Nicola Sturgeon on 6th May that we can keep Scotland, and Scotland’s economy in safe hands and secure a strong, green recovery from the pandemic.”

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