Scottish businesses should be given £75million to help them deal with Brexit, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has demanded.
FSB Scotland has urged the Scottish Government to set aside the money in a Brexit resilience fund in its submission ahead of the Scottish Budget on December 12.
In a letter to Ministers, the small business campaign group also called for further reforms of the business rates system, as well as action to boost town centres and high streets.
“Our research shows that only a minority of Scottish businesses have started to prepare for Brexit. While few would blame firms when they still don’t know exactly what they’re preparing for, we can’t see good businesses overwhelmed by a rapidly changing trading environment,” said Andrew McRae, FSB’s Scotland policy chair.
“Earlier this year, the Welsh Government announced a £50m EU Transition Fund. We’ve been impressed by Scotland’s economic agencies’ response so far, but after 29 March the work is really going to need to ramp up. At this budget, the Finance Secretary needs to put aside funds to help businesses – across all sectors and geographies – adapt.”
Read more about the impact of Brexit on small UK businesses:
- HMRC slammed for concealing Brexit reality from 100,000 small businesses
- Why aren’t small business owners planning for a “chaotic” no-deal Brexit?
- What we can expect from HMRC before Brexit
FSB’s submission also detailed a request for the development of a new town centre diversification fund, which would be used to upgrade high street properties and infrastructure.
McRae added: “The high street is known as the home of independent retail. But if we’re to turn around some of our town centres, we need to make them attractive to the next-generation of businesses. We want the Scottish Government to build on the success of its town centre regeneration fund with a new high street diversification programme.”
It also laid out proposals for additional changes to the Scottish rates system including a new taper on the Scottish Government’s small business rates relief scheme, to smooth out financial shocks to businesses who suddenly find themselves outside the scheme’s scope.
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