Date lodged: 8 February 2018
To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to (a) help promote small businesses and (b) create new jobs in West Lothian.
Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 28 February 2018
The Scottish Government is continuing to work closely with partners in the region to deliver the West Lothian Economic Growth Plan, which was agreed following the announcement in 2012 that the Halls of Broxburn plant would close with the loss of 1,700 jobs. The Plan, launched in 2012, captures a range of interventions supporting economic growth in the area over a 5 year period, including those that support jobs and businesses.
We have supported the delivery of the Plan with £12 million of additional resource which, along with existing budgets represents an overall package of financial support of £29 million to strengthen the West Lothian economy and to help it weather future economic challenges. An independent mid-term evaluation undertaken in 2016 demonstrated that interventions in the Plan had supported the creation of 2,395 additional jobs and supported 450 ex-Halls of Broxburn employees with training to assist them in finding new employment.
In addition, Scottish Enterprise works closely with partners including the Business Gateway, Skills Development Scotland and Local Authorities to provide support to ambitious growth companies in Scotland. Together we offer support for start ups, SMEs and large organisations. There is a wide range of support available from the public sector including business mentoring, business planning, innovation to develop products or services, leadership development, investment advice, international support, training and development for staff, business improvement academy and manufacturing reviews through Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Services.
At a local level, West Lothian Council and Business Gateway offer a range of services including workshops and seminars on topics such as marketing, tax,
e-commerce, supplier development programme, business health checks and provide 1-2-1 adviser support.