More Jobs and Faster Economic Growth
Over the next five years we will take forward our Scottish Growth Strategy, focusing our efforts on growth companies, growth sectors and growth markets so we can grow jobs and wealth here in Scotland.
Growth Companies: we will direct our efforts and resources to create the right environment for growth companies here in Scotland. By enhancing the underlying strengths and opportunities of our economy we will help Scottish companies to expand and enhance our nation's reputation as an attractive place for international investment.
Growth Sectors: we will continue to support the sectors of our economy which have the potential to drive future growth. We are working hard to make Scotland Europe's green energy powerhouse, so we can make the most of our vast green energy potential and create new jobs. We also have comparative advantages in our creative industries, financial services, food and drink, sustainable tourism and life-sciences, among others.
Growth Markets: over the next five years we will be stepping up efforts to align our investment towards new international growth markets. The global recovery is being led by emerging economies, and improved access to these markets will open up Scottish exports to new consumers - 2.5 billion in India and China alone. This provides important opportunities in what is an increasingly global and competitive marketplace - opportunities we are determined Scottish companies will be well placed to seize.
And, to provide the necessary foundations for these three strands of our strategy we will continue to build Scotland's skills, infrastructure and competitive base. We are committed to ensuring Scotland's business rates package remains the most competitive in the UK, including a commitment to continue to match the English business rates poundage.
We will not make use of the Scottish Variable Rate in the term of the next parliament.
Helping Small Businesses Create Jobs
At the heart of our plans to create more jobs and deliver faster economic growth will be our Small Business Jobs Plan. We will make it easier for small businesses to take on an apprentice and also allow small businesses to share an apprentice, enabling many more businesses to offer apprenticeship opportunities to young Scots. As part of our expansion of apprenticeship places, we will put particular effort into opening up opportunities for training in our small and medium-sized enterprises.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) tell us that if just one in five of the self-employed in Scotland moved to take on a single member of staff, there would be an extra 40,000 jobs in the Scottish economy. We recognise this potential and so will introduce specific support for small businesses looking to take on their first member of staff, in particular assistance with drafting contracts and setting up payroll and PAYE systems. In the year ahead we will provide specific financial support to encourage small businesses to take on new staff with £7.5 million of employment assistance. This alone can help 7,000 Scots back in to a job.
Small businesses across the country have told us the difference our Small Business Bonus has made during the downturn. So, we will keep the Small Business Bonus – an initiative that is now helping 80,000 local companies, with 60,000 paying no rates at all. The Small Business Bonus has protected jobs in the recession and will create jobs as our economy recovers. It will be a direct investment in our local entrepreneurs, providing a welcome boost to local economies.
We will introduce an online One-Stop Finance Information Service - a single point of information for businesses on government financial support that is available and an advice point for small businesses looking for commercial loans or finance. And because we know access to finance is crucial for job creation and business growth, we will look to expand initiatives, such as the East of Scotland Investment Fund, to widen availability of affordable lending and continue with the Scottish Loan Fund. We will look for new ways to increase the size of this fund beyond the current £95 million investment.
The Scottish Loan Fund is just one part of the Scottish Investment Bank and over the next five years we will take forward this important initiative, building on the £250 million already in place to widen support and loan funding for high-growth Scottish companies, big and small.
Community Jobs Scotland
Improving the employment prospects for young people is an important task in the years ahead, as we work to build on the record 86.8% of young Scots leaving school to move into employment, training or Higher and Further Education. Community Jobs Scotland will provide 2000 new work opportunities in Scotland's third sector, a £10 million investment in young people's futures as part of our wider youth employment and training support. Scotland's charitable and voluntary organisations are superbly placed to provide opportunities for young people to develop skills across a wide range of occupations and this initiative will also provide significant benefits for communities across Scotland.
Export Support Package
We will support growing businesses with a new Export Support Package so that Scotland can sell more to the world, creating jobs here at home. In the year ahead we will provide £2.5 million for a new Export Support initiative. This will deliver bespoke advice and support for 100 Scottish companies looking to enter new markets overseas. Alongside this, we will look to the Scottish Investment Bank to prioritise lending to support the internationalisation of SMEs and we will continue our enthusiastic support and funding for the new Smart Exporter initiative. This collaboration between Scottish Development International and Scottish Chambers International will provide assistance to around 8,000 Scottish businesses over the next three years to help them maximize exporting opportunities.
We are ambitious for Scotland's exporters and confident in their ability to contribute to higher levels of sustainable economic growth. We will set a target to increase exports across all sectors of our economy. We believe Scottish business can deliver a 50% increase in exports over the next 6 years. And to assist new and current exporters we will develop a new online export tool - Virtual Trade Centres - providing information and advice for Scottish companies looking to expand overseas. And because local market knowledge is an essential element of any successful export expansion, we will look to work with existing export companies to deliver a business-to-business mentoring service for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Please see page 10 of the Scottish National Party manifesto for this policy.
Please see this SCREEN GRAB of the previous version of this policy from the party website.
Retrieved on 16/04/11 (9:17pm) from: 2011 Party Manifesto