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1 April 2008


Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson today welcomed the introduction of the SNP Governments Small Business Grant Scheme.

Under the new Governments policy to be rolled out from April 1 a new rates relief for small businesses will be introduced in Scotland. Business rates relief will be determined by a firm’s rateable value. Those businesses with a rateable value of £8,000 will expect to receive 80% relief, with that rising to 100% by 2009. Those businesses with a rateable value of £8,000 to £10,000 a year will receive rates relief of 40% while firms with a rateable value of between £10,000 and £15,000 will get 20% off their bills.

The Small Business Grant Scheme is a key part of the SNP Manifesto pledge to support small businesses, a sector it recognises as being faced with a disproportionate rates burden. The Small Business Grant Scheme is one which it intends to work as part of a wider economic strategy to support the small business class and boost economic growth.

Commenting on the Small Business Grant Scheme Mr Stevenson said:

"Small businesses are fundamental to the economic well being of Banff and Buchan as a source of entrepreneurship and innovation, a driver of competition and local economic vibrancy and as a mechanism for job creation. Small businesses have traditionally played a vital role in maintaining and strengthening the rural communities and in Banff and Buchan we have seen this reflected in the role they play in stimulating the wider rural economy.

"Under previous administrations there has been a tendency towards ineffectual posturing with respect to supporting small businesses and this scheme will act to reverse that trend. This scheme which will be rolled out on April 1 2008 is targeted to deliver a real boost to small businesses in Scotland.

"Under the new scheme small firms will only have to apply for grant relief once every five years as long as the circumstances of the business have not changed. This aims at ensuring small business can avoid wasting valuable time and resources filling out application forms every year. We are sending information leaflets out to all businesses in Scotland on the scheme with information also available at the Scottish Government website.

"The small businessman of Banff and Buchan can rest assured that the SNP Government is working hard within the limits of the devolution settlement to ensure they are given every opportunity to prosper. The small businessman is someone the SNP Government sees as fundamental to stimulating a Scottish economy that has lagged behind the rest of the UK under Labour’s discredited policies, by listening and working together we intend to bring real prosperity to Banff and Buchan."

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