Donside – Swinney joins campaign trail to help promote business support


SNP by-election candidate Mark McDonald has called on small business owners across Aberdeen Donside to ensure that they are receiving all the rates relief they are entitled to, after visiting a small business supported by the Scottish Government’s Small Business Bonus Scheme this afternoon.

Speaking from Audstar Quality Flowers in Dyce – where he and Finance Secretary John Swinney met owner Audrey Ross, Mr McDonald said that he has been proud to support the Small Business Bonus Scheme in Parliament, and pledged to continue to do so if re-elected.

Since the SNP Government introduced the Small Business Bonus Scheme in 2008, almost £17m has been saved by nearly 2000 small businesses in Aberdeen.

A survey of recipients conducted by the Federation of Small Business in 2009 – during the height of the financial downturn – found one in eight businesses responding that the rate relief was helping them stay afloat.

Commenting, Finance Secretary John Swinney said:

“The Small Business Bonus Scheme has been one of the most significant policies introduced by the SNP since we came into office in 2007.

“Almost two thirds of businesses in Scotland are benefiting from rates relief of up to 100%, potentially saving them thousands of pounds a year.

“Scotland has the most competitive rates relief scheme in the UK, and we are seeing the benefits of this. Our lower unemployment rates and higher employment rates are being matched by encouraging rises in retail sales and in GDP – both at a rate faster than the UK average.

“With the limited economic powers that we have, the Scottish Government is working hard to ensure businesses like Audrey’s are able to grow.”

Mr McDonald added:

“Audrey’s business is testament to the importance of the Small Business Bonus Scheme. During uncertain economic times, and when many utility costs are going up for businesses, it is vital that we give our SMEs as much support as they can get.

“I have voted for the Small Business Bonus Scheme every year in Parliament as an MSP, and pledge to continue to do so if re-elected, in line with the SNP’s manifesto commitment.

“For many small businesses, this support from the Scottish Government can literally be the difference between staying solvent or not – that’s why it is absolutely vital that all those who may be eligible get in touch with the council to apply for the relief.

“Anyone who thinks they may be entitled to relief should contact the council and find out if they are eligible.”

Audrey Ross, owner of Audstar Quality Flowers said:

“The Small Business Bonus has been a huge help to my business. Without it, I would have had a far harder time running my business and I know that it has been a lifeline to many small businesses like mine.”