The Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee has today published its budget scrutiny report on regional selective assistance, a fund which financially supports local businesses across Scotland.
Between April 2009 and May 2019 over £337 million was offered to Scottish businesses which in turn has reportedly helped generate more than 20,000 jobs across Scotland. However, it was also reported that the central belt dominated most of the funding with areas like the Highlands not receiving any funds from RSA in the last three years.
Supplementary evidence revealed that the £500 million public ‘Scottish Growth Scheme’, which was announced in the summer of 2016, has not been met with substantial demand.
As of 31 August 2019, £39.8 million has been spent from public funds while £109.7 million has come from private investment. The Committee believes that the enterprise agencies should be properly resourced to stimulate demand for this fund and for opportunities arising from the forthcoming Scottish National Investment Bank.
Committee Convener Gordon Lindhurst MSP said:
“Supporting businesses across Scotland is vital to secure jobs and grow the economy and our budget scrutiny was aimed at making sure that businesses were getting the right support where it is needed most.
“The Committee noted the huge regional disparity of RSA awards over the last five years and is keen to ensure that regional data is published routinely and that the support is going to areas where it is needed most.’
“Additionally, the Committee highlights the important role of Business Gateway, operated by local authorities and COSLA, in stimulating demand for funds like the Growth Scheme which has not been properly utilised by enterprises.”
The report can be found here