Letter: Small firm hope

As Lesley Riddoch noted (Comment, 1 November) small businesses have a track record of creating jobs and we all know that nothing will put the brakes on any recovery like a sustained period of mass unemployment.

With big business downsizing and the public sector getting ready to do so, it is our small businesses that will provide the new jobs the Scottish economy urgently needs. Our track record shows that, for every job big business scrapped over the past decade, small businesses created two.

Despite everything we have faced in recent years, 35 per cent of Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) members are still operating at, or above, capacity and about seven in ten expect to employ more or the same number of people in the next quarter.

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At the same time, we have some 200,000 single-member enterprises in Scotland, but the move towards becoming an employer is too daunting and risky.

There is significant capacity there. But, determined as small businesses are, they cannot create jobs on the scale required without government backing. We need business support services which are not fixated on arbitrary growth targets, but on the sort of support businesses really want.

We need public procurement decisions which don't just look at narrow, short-term savings, but at the interests of the economy as a whole. We need more help for self-employed people who want to become an employer. And, of course, we need job creation to become more affordable.

Colin Borland

Federation of Small Businesses

Berkeley Street