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28 August 2014 | Gurjit Degun
Small businesses in Scotland would benefit from “even more” public procurement opportunities if the country votes for independence in the referendum next month, the Scottish National Party has claimed.
John Swinney, cabinet secretary for finance, employment and sustainable growth in the Scottish Government, said in Scotland 46 per cent of the value of all public contracts goes to small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs), whereas in the UK it is only 10.5 per cent.
He said if the country gains independence, the government would be able to “expand our efforts to get SME’s involved in public contracts into new areas boosting business”.
Swinney added: “With independence we can make sure public spending benefits small business by directing even more government spending to Scotland’s small and medium-sized firms.
“We have already delivered the best tax regime for small business anywhere in the UK. Independence will give us the opportunity to make life simpler for small business by making it easier to pay taxes and comply with regulation.
“And with an economic policy designed for Scotland we can support our manufacturing industries, drive up exports and promote Scotland around the world.”
Scottish Labour infrastructure spokesperson James Kelly MSP said that the SNP's claim is "simply nonsense".
He said: "Instead of misleading people on what is under the control of the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Government would be better off explaining clearly what separation will mean for jobs in Scotland. The fact is that Scotland as part of the UK gives firms access to a domestic market of over 63 million, which means that companies based in Scotland can bid for contracts from across the UK and benefit from the spending power of the whole UK economy.
"This would not be the case in a separate Scotland as companies would be bidding for contracts in what would now be a foreign country. There would not be more money to spend on public contracts in a separate Scotland. The impartial Institute of Fiscal Studies have calculated that a separate Scotland would face an extra £6 billion in either spending cuts or tax rises."