Business Support (West Dunbartonshire)

General Questions – in the Scottish Parliament at 11:00 am on 23rd December 2010.

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Photo of Gil Paterson Gil Paterson Scottish National Party 11:00 am, 23rd December 2010

To ask the Scottish Government what support it gives to businesses in the West Dunbartonshire area. (S3O-12482)

Photo of Jim Mather Jim Mather Scottish National Party

An extensive array of support and advice services is available to West Dunbartonshire businesses from a wide range of public and private sector organisations including Scottish Enterprise, the small business gateway, the local council, Scottish Development International, Skills Development Scotland, VisitScotland, the third sector, financial institutions and other sectoral advisory bodies.

Photo of Gil Paterson Gil Paterson Scottish National Party

Will the minister provide reasons why the small business bonus scheme is not being made mandatory, as is being done with the equivalent scheme in England?

Photo of Jim Mather Jim Mather Scottish National Party

We will monitor the recent policy changes in England, although they appear only to remove the central requirement for an application form and, at first glance, seem to fall short of making the scheme fully mandatory.

The Scottish Government will continue to take positive action to help small businesses and confirmed the continuation of the small business bonus scheme this year. Earlier this month, the First Minister wrote to more than 19,300 potentially eligible business premises to raise awareness of the scheme and encourage participation.

I note that the temporary expanded English business rate relief scheme remains significantly less generous than the small business bonus scheme, under which a Scottish business can be up to £3,000 better off this year.

Photo of Des McNulty Des McNulty Labour

Will the minister intervene to ensure that Scottish Enterprise honours the agreement between the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and the Scottish Government with regard to funding for the urban regeneration companies such as Clydebank Re-built? Will he or the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth meet me in advance of any decision being made about the future funding of Clydebank Re-built from Scottish Enterprise or Scottish Government sources?

Photo of Jim Mather Jim Mather Scottish National Party

I am very conscious of the public money that has gone into the project in question and am more than happy to meet Mr McNulty. I am happy to meet, talk and see how we take the matter forward.