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FSB warns of devastating consequences if Scottish Government scraps Small Business Bonus scheme

Around one in five (18.9 per cent) Scottish small firms would close if the Scottish Government’s Small Business Bonus scheme were abolished, according to FSB research. 

The study found a similar number (19.9 per cent) would cancel investments and 18.3 per cent would amend their plans for growth. 

Asked how they used the savings from the relief, 37 per cent said they used them to invest in their business, while 35 per cent used the break to offset other cost increases and 19 per cent pointed to investment in their staff.

The survey forms part of FSB Scotland’s submission to the independent review of the business rates system, commissioned by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and led by 
Ken Barclay, former Chair of RBS in Scotland.

Scott Witham owns Glasgow-based Traffic Design and pays no rates at all, thanks to the current system. He said: “If I had to fork out thousands of extra pounds a year for my rates bill, it would have a huge impact on my business and my community. Not only would I have to cut back on new equipment and staff training, I’d have to think twice about our continued charity work.”

Andy Willox, FSB’s Scottish policy convenor, said: “The Scottish Government’s Small Business Bonus scheme has helped smaller firms ride out almost a decade of turmoil.

“With Scottish communities and firms facing yet more economic uncertainty, it is not the time to consider hiking smaller firms’ bills.”

The scheme was first introduced in 2008 and has close to 100,000 recipients.