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The Federation of Small Businesses has published its 2016 Scottish Parliament Election Manifesto

The manifesto makes the case that, while inward-investment and key sectors remain important, we need to do more to support small firms and the communities in which they’re based. The FSB also argues that the importance of small and micro businesses to the overall success of a local area has been underestimated.

In terms of the key asks, the FSB puts forward five suggestions for the next Scottish Government:

Put local economies first

  • Make all public bodies invest in the heart of our communities, gather more information about the economic health of all local places and tackle the backlog of local road repairs.

Wire Scotland for the future

  • Close the connectivity gap: deliver universal superfast broadband and an innovation fund to use fibre to improve mobile coverage. Introduce a Digital Services Bill, making Scotland a world leader in e-government to revolutionise the relationship between government and business.

Create the right rules for small business

  • Use new technology to give firms clear advice about their rights and responsibilities. With a slew of new rules on the way, new regulations should be tightly targeted and exempt low-risk small firms where possible.

Help small businesses grow

  • Give small firms help to grow through continued specialist recruitment support and redoubled efforts to develop better links between industry and education. Extra focus should be applied to reform vocational education for new industries and the smallest employers.  The next administration should appoint a Cabinet Secretary for Business.

Tax fairly and spend locally

  • Modernise the business rates system: first permanently excluding the smallest firms from the system and introducing more frequent revaluations, then looking at new tax models more appropriate for 21st century Scotland. Every Scottish public body should aim to spend ten per cent of its procurement budget with firms with fewer than 10 employees by 2021 – bringing an additional £250million of spend per year to the smallest businesses.

Read the full document.

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