Scottish councils should 'target local economies'

By William Eichler | 21 April 2017

Campaigners have called on Scottish councils to spend more with small and medium-sized enterprises (SME).

Scotland’s 32 local authorities spend more than £6.1bn a year procuring goods and services, but the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said the average council spent only 19.7% of their procurement budget with SMEs in their area in 2015/16.  

The data exposes a variation across local authorities, with West Dunbartonshire Council delivering just 5.8% of its budget with local firms, but Shetland Islands Council using more than half (53.6%) of its spending power to boost its local economy.

The FSB said all of Scotland’s city councils, with the exception of Aberdeen, spent less than one pound in four with local SMEs.

Scottish policy convenor for the FSB, Andy Willox, said: ‘Council budgets are under significant pressure.

'That’s why it is important that they squeeze every drop of value out of their spending power by targeting it on their local economies.

‘We’re calling on every Scottish council to increase their spending with local firms by two per cent per year, delivering a £600m boost to Scottish business by 2021.’

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Budgets and efficiency Local economies Business Finance Policy Procurement