Around 20,000 businesses closed in a single year of the pandemic

But the last two years have also underlined just how important councils and local businesses are to each other.

The unparalleled local insight, spending and decision-making powers that local authorities and small businesses possess make them a powerful driver of local change. This election therefore marks a unique opportunity to deepen and strengthen the relationship between local government and local small business so that we can deliver for our economies and communities.  

We’re asking local authorities to:

  • Set ambitious targets to increase procurement spend with smaller local firms by 2% every year to deliver an additional £140m for the economy.  
  • Boost the economic recovery of local places by rejecting applications for out-of-town retail developments for the next five years. 
  • Help local footfall and increase economic activity by fully reopening their headquarters or main offices in town and city centres, thus enabling the return of more of their office-based staff.  
  • Support local businesses to continue their journey to net zero by providing ongoing grant support to the small firms who will be hit hardest by the transition. 
  • Help businesses to start-up and scale-up by investing in, and supporting, Business Gateway services – and offering targeted support for areas where there is significant untapped potential, such as women-led and migrant-led businesses.  
  • Improve the relationship between local authorities and business by creating joined up online systems in areas such as licensing and non-domestic rates.  

Read FSB's report

For Scottish local authorities and small businesses alike, the Covid-19 crisis has made daily operations far more difficult.

Read our manifesto for local authorities in full including our six steps for local recovery.

Read now