Jo Swinson has blamed a slump in new business start ups on cutbacks to local Business Gateway branches.
Official figures from the Committee of Scottish Clearing Bankers show that in East Dunbartonshire, the number of new business averaged 140 in the first two quarters of 2007. In the third and fourth quarters in 2007, and the first quarter of 2008, this figure fell to just 97 – a fall of over 30%.
In the first quarter of 2007, the number of start up businesses in Scotland was 8,356. In the first quarter of 2008, the number of start up businesses was 5,550 – a third less than the same time last year.
Commenting, Jo said:
“CSCB figures show that in East Dunbartonshire, business start ups have dropped by over 30% since the first half of 2007. Across Scotland, the number of new businesses has dropped by a third when compared with the same time last year.
“The drastic cutting back of Business Gateway services in Bearsden and Kirkintilloch that took place last October has coincided with a major slowdown in local business start-ups. New business cannot be expected to thrive without good-quality, local, professional advice and support. We are now seeing the negative knock-on effects of stripping away these services.
“A heady mixture of slashed budgets, ill-considered proposals and lingering uncertainty about the SNP’s plans for business has combined to create a needlessly difficult environment for new businesses. In opposition, the SNP talked about the need to improve dramatically Scotland’s business start up rate. In Government, they have so far presided over a slump in new businesses.”