A small business strategy that can make a big difference

Annandale North councillor Adam Wilson, who is standing to be a Scottish delegate to the National Policy Forum, writes about the importance of well-supported small businesses to rural Scotland.


Across Scotland, small businesses make a massive contribution to our economy. Scottish Labour should be reaching out and listen to members across Scotland, and developing policy that works effectively to build our economy from Aberdeen to Dumfriesshire, Inverness to the Islands.

According to the latest statistics there are over 350,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Scotland today supporting over 1.2 million jobs. In the more rural parts of Scotland the benefits that SMEs provide are vitally important. They employ local people, bring money into the local economy and are key to the sustainability of rural communities in the future.

That’s why I’m delighted that Scottish Labour’s Economy Spokesperson, Jackie Baillie MSP, has launched a new Small Business Strategy that will make a real difference. The Strategy is the start of what could be real change for our small businesses by providing new opportunities and ensuring our SME voices are heard right at the heart of government by creating a Minister for Small Business.

Having family members who own and run their own small businesses has given me an insight into the daily challenges they face. Smaller businesses often struggle to obtain public sector contracts and as competition increases larger firms have a greater ability to submit cheaper tenders for the work that is available.

Walking down High Streets that are outside of the central belt it is small businesses that occupy the vast majority of buildings. As many High Streets are deserted by the big multinationals, it is the local businesses that are thriving and keeping communities going. Walking down Lockerbie High Street, in my ward, there are only four national companies – Santander, Greggs, Home Bargains and the Post Office, although it is now a part of a local newsagents. There is a real sense of community as businesses compliment and support each other and support the local schools, charities and community groups.

But up and down the country, SMEs are struggling to grow. In rural Scotland the growth in jobs is coming from small businesses but without the funding for a bigger warehouse, to modernise and keep up to date with the latest technology or to purchase that larger vehicle. This lack of access to funding means the growth of small businesses is limited. For rural Scotland, in particular, this is a lost opportunity for economic growth as national and international companies are keen to get close to the best transport links and infrastructure – which often means our rural economies lose out further.

With plans to improve access to finance, and make taxes and procurement fairer, Scottish Labour would be taking a big step towards tackling inequality, creating jobs and helping rejuvenate communities across Scotland.

It is crucially important for the future of the country, and the electoral fortunes of the Labour Party that we do not simply focus our attentions on the economic and social needs of those in the central belt. Whilst there is undoubtedly a higher density of deprivation in some of our urban areas, where economic and social investment is sorely needed, our rural communities also have great needs.

I’m standing for the National Policy Forum along with Cate Vallis, Suzan King and Moh Fern Hirani to become the Scottish delegates. We pledge to stand up for our communities across Scotland, supporting small businesses and ensure that policies are brought forward that help to strengthen and grow the thousands of small businesses in Scotland today. Not only will this help secure the jobs of over a million workers, but it will also ensure the next Labour manifesto works for the whole of Scotland, not just the central belt.

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28 thoughts on “A small business strategy that can make a big difference

  1. With devolution, a lot of the issues covered in these national policy consultation papers don’t apply to Scotland. The Scottish Policy Forum will start the policy process for the next Scottish Parliament elections in the autumn so it seems to me that the national interests of the Labour Party UK take precedence over the Scottish Labour section, we need to start thinking of a breakaway independent Scottish Labour Party as opposed to our current status as a mere section of the Labour Party UK we have no power and cannot get our Scottish Labour section policies into the Labour Party UK manifesto so the national policy forum is a waste of time.

  2. This is the same Labour party that brought in IR35 and devastated small businesses across the UK. Many small businesses are fighting for their very existence in court because of IR35 many small businesses have already gone under and the idea of a sole trader has now all but disappeared.
    As usual you never judge Labour by what they spew but by what they do and have done.

    1. That’s the problem it’s the fact that we who are Scottish Labour should wake up and recognise that that we cannot make policy for the Labour Party UK manifesto because we aren’t a Party but just a section of the party with no real influence, policy is made by a metropolitan elite in London. I would like to say sorry for the Labour Party UK bringing in the IR35 we can see it’s bad for small business and that’s one of the reasons why we were wiped out in Scotland. Maybe a new real Scottish Labour Party breaking away from the Labour Party UK and supporting an lndependent Scotland could be our only hope for the future.

  3. I voted remain in 14 and at the EU ref I think Brexit is a total disaster and because of It I might vote yes if there is another Scottish Independence vote .
    That’s if the Scottish Government decide to talk to the UK government about what the process will be if they do decide to ask .
    That’s for the future .I voted to set up Holyrood with Tax raising powers .
    I did it because I did not want a UK government to give us something like the poll tax a year before the rest of the UK .
    I wanted Holyrood to be able to block legislation like that .
    I wont be swayed by any party I will make my own mind up .
    We will be out of the EU
    A big thing for me will be what will the attitude of the huge market on our border the rest of the UK be toward an Independent Scotland .
    Alec Salmond said last time we will be their best pals .
    For me it will be will they be ours .
    In the end it will come down to pensions job security NHS etc and as always despite what we think it will be up to the voters .Do they want to do it .
    For me the Scottish Parliament has got to be protected and has to be paramount
    As I believe all the Scottish parties in the parliament except the Tories voted for.
    And yes I believe there should be a separate Scottish Labour Party
    We could and should still work closely with UK Labour but we on occasion would go our separate way .
    That’s just my opinion

  4. “And yes I believe there should be a separate Scottish Labour Party
    We could and should still work closely with UK Labour but we on occasion would go our separate way .”

    David your comment above is a wee bit unclear you seem to be indicating that a breakaway new Scottish Labour Party would be connected to the Labour Party UK. Sorry if my previous post was unclear l propose that at the core of the new Scottish Labour Party’s constitution would be it’s support for an lndependent Scotland and in effect it would be in competition with the SNP and it would have the same aim as all of the other parties who support an lndependent Scotland. After Scotland achieves Independence then we could be a truly socialist Scottish Labour Party.

  5. There is no meat on the bone of this article. All it says is that the author thinks it would be whizzy if Labour helped SMEs and asserts everything would be grand if we vote for them. However, there is the square root of zilch in terms of actual policy.

  6. Ted thanks for your comment
    No I am talking about autonomy within the present setup .
    The party has huge autonomy we need to use it .
    The FM has said she will give us an update on her Indy intentions in October
    An AUOB march is to take place in Edinburgh Oct 6 awkward

  7. When I go into my local shop for the paper its family owned and the owners know I am in the labour party.
    They are struggling to survive and have no time for any of the political parties or our great schemes .
    Local roadworks were a disaster for them .
    As was the RBS Fiasco

  8. The BBC Red Button Health section is carrying a story would you log off Social Media for a month .
    We are being asked take back control and stop scrolling through feeds for a month .
    The Royal Public Health Society is behind Scroll free September which is targeting users of Facebook Instagram Twitter and Snapchat
    It believes logging off could improve sleep relationships and wellbeing
    NHS England said it was right to highlight social medias role in a rise in young peoples mental health issues
    You don’t to read it now
    Well are you going to do it or can you not cope without it

    1. Very interesting David l agree everything in moderation although when it comes from the BBC l am suspicious and do not trust them as they are an ally of the Westminster Government and and are both against an Independent Scotland, so I will stick with getting my trusted news via social media.

    2. They are asking young people to give up their mobile phones for a month. Not that its not a good idea but its never going to happen.

  9. Thanks for your comment Ted
    It was on BBC Red Button Health Section
    Nobody does conspiracy theories better than me .So what will you do if the Government makes a move on Social Media sites haha

    1. David It’s already happened although l am a Independent Scottish Labour Party supporter I take no comfort from the BBC enforcing discriminatory action via YouTube to take down Wings Over Scotland YouTube channel it’s clear to me that the BBC are are a part of a right wing apparatchik government against all supporters of an lndependent Scotland.

    2. You Tube have finally admitted the BBC has a case to answer and, unless they actually initiate a court action against WOS, the channel will be re-instated with all videos available to view. It will be a massive own goal (over and above the bucket load they have already amassed over this issue) if they do try to contest this.

      Disturbingly, but not surprisingly, the Mail, Express, Record and Telegraph have yet to acknowledge there is anything to report on. Surely this, and the initial BBC action, will finally blow away any remaining vestige of pretence that the MSM in Scotland (and the UK) is not biased and failing to give a balanced view of Scottish issues.

  10. WHERE’S , Scott Arthur ??????? just been listening to radio and it appears he was the one who reported WOS to bbc.

    True, False – lets hear his explanation .

    1. Why did he get to discuss the situation concerning his site with the BBC over a period of nearly a week and allowed to archive his clips while WOS and Moridura were taken down without so much as a warning or explanation?

      And why did he get a prolonged stint on Radio Scotland to denigrate WOS and “anonymous pro indy twitter accounts” without any questioning of the content of his own site or his own personal “anonymous twitter accounts”?

      Even when they are caught red handed, unionist politicians are let off the hook.

      1. You are right Bungo except for the unionist politician bit .
        Its a mess which will rebound on social media because the BBC are now looking at what can and cant be used by WOS and others and who shopped Scott Arthur
        I don’t care shut the lot as far as I am concerned .
        I would be much more concerned if they did some investigative reporting of their own into why businesses are closing and laying of people on a daily basis now .The fixation with online banking and shopping it might be easy but its costing jobs
        All this propaganda for websites and nothing about people losing their jobs .
        Politicians off all parties better wake up to it why no demos or protests about jobs .We should start by taxing Amazon until the pips squeak and if they say we will take our operation overseas we should say goodbye and you are not trading here
        Internet banking make it expensive.
        If WOS or Scott Arthur did any investigations of their own instead of using BBC material I would be more supportive.
        I only mention Scott and WOS as because of this week they are the only 2 sites I have heard off
        So I say to Scott and WOS do a piece on this site what happened do you do any investigative work of your own and why do you think its ok to post other peoples work on you tube without paying them in this case the BBC .

  11. Don’t know Davy as a Labour Party member I thought it was daft of the BBC and You Tube to do that .
    If you are going to take 1 political site down take them all down.
    It just gave WOS free publicity and looking at todays National a lot of people think its an attack on Indy sites .
    Although I believe the site has been reinstated minus the offending videos .Although I think at some time WOS and others are going to have to pay .
    Much more important Aulds bakery has gone into liquidation 180 jobs at risk .
    And how ironic There has been a call from the Royal College of Midwives for the baby box scheme to be rolled out across the UK it reduces sleep risks and is available in Scotland and Northern England .
    Are you listening RUTH ha ha

  12. Just watched Reporting Scotland seems it was a copyright law decision .Scottish Gov WOS and worst off all Lawyers involved .
    BBC say they are doing a review of what happened
    Its using their reporting of political affairs by their staff by sites like WOS that seems to be the problem .

    1. No that’s the BBC side of the argument the REAL problem is the FACT that the ONLY sites the BBC complained to You tube about were 2 pro Indy sites.
      This is where it gets really interesting because the BBC said they do this ONLY when a complaint is made regarding the use of BBC content. They said they received a complaint from a Labour councillor who they named. Scott Arthur.
      Scott Arthur vehemently denies ever making a complaint and instead claims when the BBC approached him after receiving a complaint about his content he used the Wings and Peter Curran sites as examples of how BBC content should be used without copyright infringement.
      According to Scott Arthur the BBC decided on their own to approach You tube to have them ban the 2 sites without first contacting Wings or Peter Curran in the same manner they approached Scott Arthur. Scott Arthur was given an opportunity to hide the BBC content behind a privacy block and keep his site open and working not so Wings and Peter Curran.
      Right there you have double standards being applied.
      So either the BBC is lying about its acting ONLY on a complaints basis or Scott Arthur is lying about the turn of events.
      As neither of them has any credibility or a shred of honesty you can take your pick.
      No other site such as the Spectator or any of the political parties who frequently use BBC content were approached or banned.
      There are BBC episodes of popular TV programs running all over You tube which are supposed to be copyright protected yet the BBC doesn’t see any need to take any action on any of them.
      The ONLY action the BBC has EVER taken on this issue has been 100% against pro Indy sites.
      Then look at how quickly the BBC retracted their actions when they were exposed and brought into the light. Clearly they didn’t feel any amount of conviction that what they did was right and above board.
      BBC partisan politics which cant be covered up or excused or spun away.

  13. The arm of the British Government the BBC have done wonders for the Yes Movement and an Independent Scotland by reinforcing the view that all mainstream media is corrupt and in cahoots with the government with their censorship of Wings Over Scotland YouTube channel, anybody who was undecided have now been influenced and will not believe or take notice of any mainstream media reporting on next year’s IndyRef2 and project fear.

  14. Ted
    I am seriously thinking of voting yes next time .
    I will make my own mind up I will not be influenced by the press or political parties
    Nobody except the chattering classes is even remotely interested in this story .
    You mentioned an Indy Ref next year has one been announced
    Is there any sign Nicola has given the order to her party to prepare
    for one.
    Have SNP members or supporters done anything to put pressure on the leadership to do it
    AUOB have announced another demo for October in Edinburgh we are supposed to be getting a decision in October that will be interesting
    And if it does happen and you start canvassing when you go to peoples doors both sides will have to leave name calling behind and get called names haha

    1. Nicola will announce IndyRef2 in October 2018 the lndyRef2 will take place in May 2019 and their is no need to seek permission for an IndyRef2 the Scottish Government have a legal mandate to implement the IndyRef2. And as l am in a good mood l can let you know Wednesdays lottery numbers.

  15. Thank you for your comment Ted
    Just wondering how you know Nicola is going to announce indy 2 in October .
    If she does I back the Scottish Parliament btw I don’t trust any of them .
    And the so called news sites they might complain about BBC bias but it does not stop them using BBC material when it suits them
    I don’t care or view any of them .So I say bin all of them
    Unbelievable Scott Arthur BBC and WOS are in a who did what barny
    And as usual politicians are involved as are lawyers
    I have spoken to shop staff at Poundworld and Aulds tea shop who found out their jobs were at risk via BBC Red Button .Aulds staff were told the next day by management in full view of the public including me .
    Its job losses that matter to me .
    That’s what politicians off all parties and unions should be campaigning about not feeling sorry for useless webs
    BTW can you print Wednesdays lottery numbers tomorrow night thanks haha

    1. David as an lndependent Scottish Labour Party supporter l am despondent that we do not have an lndependent Scotland for the following reasons. At the moment the Blairites are still working to undermine the Labour Party UK and Jeremy Corbyn and a un-united party won’t beat the Tories in a general election,and no matter what people think the Scottish Government SNP and the Scottish Parliament is the only fully functioning competent government in the UK. It’s my view that we have to breakaway from the Labour Party UK and support an lndependent Scotland and then post Independence stand in elections as a truly socialist party.

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