Date lodged: 22 September 2016
To ask the Scottish Government what action it (a) takes and (b) has taken to support the retail sector.
Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 13 October 2016
The Scottish Government recognises the value of a successful and vibrant retail sector and regularly engages with the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) and its members across a wide range of policy priorities.
We provide various mechanisms of support to the sector, including zero or reduced rates for around 100,000 properties under the Small Business Bonus Scheme; almost two-thirds of shops benefit from some form of rates relief. The annual cost of the Small Business Bonus Scheme is estimated at around £178 million.
We also provide skills support for the sector through Skills Development Scotland, with over 2,000 Modern Apprenticeships having started in the sector during the last financial year 2015-16: and wider business advice via Business Gateway. Furthermore, the Scottish Government supports work with the grocery sector through a partnership approach with the food and drink industry. We remain focused on maintaining Scotland’s position as the most competitive environment for business and will continue to work closely with the retail sector.
The Scottish Government works closely with the independent Regulatory Review Group (RRG) to actively promote an improved regulatory landscape and reduce unnecessary burdens on business. The RRG has members drawn from the main business organisations in Scotland and the retail sector is represented by the Scottish Retail Consortium.