Parliamentarians taking their seats at Holyrood today were urged by a business organisation to turn “rhetoric into action” when focusing on Scotland’s economic recovery.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Scotland reminded new and returning MSPs that more than 300,000 jobs were supported through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, with Highland and Perth & Kinross council areas having joint highest percentage share of workers furloughed.
Andrew McRae, FSB’s policy chair for Scotland, argued that high numbers of workers on furlough show the “great challenge Scotland has on horizon”.
He added: “While many businesses are already bringing back workers, it looks unlikely that this will be the story across all sectors and industries. The recovery isn’t assured just because businesses can re-open their doors.”
Congratulating the successful candidates at the Holyrood elections, Mr McRae said that new and returning MSPs need to focus on the economic and employment challenge ahead.
“This was an extraordinary election during exceptional times. On behalf of Scotland’s local business community, I offer my congratulations to those that have been successful at the ballot box and thank all the candidates for their commitment to their community.
“Recovery from the covid crisis was a key talking point during the campaign, and our new and returning MSPs now need to turn their rhetoric into action. Official figures show that in every corner of the country jobs continue to be supported through the furlough scheme. As this initiative winds down, our parliamentarians and government need to focus on building back the strength of our local and independent firms that are so vital to employment.”
As at March 2020, there were 361,875 small and medium sized enterprises operating in Scotland, providing an estimated 1.2 million jobs. These businesses accounted for more than half (56%) of private sector employment, FSB said.
“That’s why we need to see the Scottish Government give workers and firms the tools to adapt to the world changed by the crisis,” said Mr McRae. “That means the SNP delivering on their manifesto commitment for new grants for firms to help them build their digital capabilities. Incentives to help firms recruit must deliver for firms no matter their size or location. In addition, we must see smarter programmes to help more workers develop the skills that’ll help power the economic recovery.”