New analysis by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) highlights slower start up rates for businesses in rural Scotland compared to the country’s cities.
From 2010-2017, the number of registered businesses in the Scottish Borders increased by only 2.4% compared to Scottish cities where the growth in businesses was over six times greater at 16%.
In a submission to the Scottish Government, the FSB emphasised the fact that only 125 new businesses opening over seven years is a cause for concern and that the Scottish Government should prioritise boosting local firms and rural business start-rates.
The FSB points towards to figures from Audit Scotland which show that transport and digital infrastructure is lacking in the Scottish Borders and across rural Scotland. The figures demonstrate that a third of Scotland’s roads are in an unacceptable condition and that 31% of Scotland’s landmass lacks 4G services from any operator.
Local businesses are the bedrock of the world’s most successful economies, case studies such as the German Mittelstand are a great example of this. Their Government has prioritised growth in the SME sector and they are currently enjoying the benefits of this. These figures highlight the fact that the Scottish Government clearly has not.
Local businesses are struggling in the Borders, hence why the turnover of businesses has been so high in the last eight years. Scottish Borders Council has recently introduced measures to promote local businesses in our town centres, but the Scottish Government needs to take action to support these efforts. More needs to be done to improve our infrastructure. Without safe roads and reliable internet local businesses in the Borders will continue to struggle.