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28 December 2015

FSB New Year Message: Put resilience at centre of plans for 2016

2016 must be the year that local businesses and communities embrace change, writes the Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) Scottish Policy Convener Andy Willox.

In his New Year’s message, Andy says that businesses must exploit rather than fear new digital technologies.  He also calls on the political parties to make building a more resilient Scottish economy their top priority for Holyrood’s May elections.

Andy says: “Change is hard, but often necessary. Well, that’s what we’ll be telling ourselves next week as we try to stick to the New Year’s resolutions. And, just as we swap the steak pies for salads at home, our minds also turn to how we can get our businesses into better shape.

“This year, FSB published a report looking at digital disruption. We’ve urged our members not to end up like the video shop or film developer. Instead, we make the case that small firms should harness the opportunities unlocked by technology and put digital at the centre of their 2016 plans for growth.

“Change too has come to FSB. We have a new brand, a new website, better member services and a reaffirmed pledge to help smaller businesses realise their ambitions. But we’re still the same champion of enterprise, and we’re proud to be making the case for our members with decision-makers at all levels.”

Looking forward to the Scottish Parliament elections in May, Andy says:

“Our manifesto for May’s Holyrood elections is full of practical ideas to make Scotland a better place to do business.  At its heart is a call for the next Scottish Government to focus its economic strategy on building up the resilience of local economies and, hence, local communities. 

“While inward investment and key sectors remain important to Scotland, there is much more to real, sustained economic growth than that. 

“Scotland must develop new ways to turn failing places around and ensure that local economies aren’t perilously dependent on a small number of large, globally mobile employers or industries.  This point extends to communities over-reliant on state-championed industries and public sector employers, now stretched because of pressure on the nation’s purse.

“We need to build communities that are more resilient to global economic shocks – and that means spreading our risk by broadening and strengthening our small business base. Improving our communications infrastructure is key to this, ensuring no business or area is left in the digital slow lane.  It also means that the next Scottish Government must create the most supportive environment in which to do business, by taxing fairly, spending wisely and regulating sensibly.”