The County’s MSP and MP have given a cautious welcome to new figures showing that East Lothian has bucked the Scottish trend of falling numbers of new business start-ups.
Iain Gray and Fiona O’Donnell were commenting after the Committee of Scottish Clearing Banks, which represents the main four banks in Scotland, released its latest statistics on the number of new businesses opening bank accounts.
The figures give a good indication of the business climate right across Scotland. The number of accounts opened in Scotland fell by 4.6% in 2011 to 14,737 compared to 15,439 in 2010. But in East Lothian 314 accounts were opened in 2011, a small rise of 4.7% compared to 2010. Figures for neighbouring Edinburgh and Midlothian were both down, though the Borders posted a modest rise similar to East Lothian.
Iain Gray said:
“The figures for East Lothian are quite encouraging and show that the county is still a good place to do business. I think one of the reasons that we are seeing the number of small businesses growing in East Lothian is the state of the employment market locally. With a growing number of people chasing a shrinking number of job vacancies, I think there are many people looking at setting up in business for themselves who may not have considered that as an option before. So if there is one positive that could come out of the dire state of the local labour market, it is growth in the number of small businesses locally.”
“Both Fiona and I realise the importance of small and medium-sized businesses to East Lothian and we hope that many of the new local businesses that have been formed over the last year will be represented at our event on 12th April to put forward their views about what more can be done to help drive their business on to greater success.”
Fiona O’Donnell said:
“I welcome the news that the number of new business start-ups in the county appears to be growing, although I suspect that people are increasingly looking to create their own opportunities as the number of applicants chasing every job vacancy rises. I’m particularly concerned that our young people are given access to skills training and business education to enable them to benefit from the opportunities that self-employment can bring. It’s paramount that we don’t allow this recession to create a lost generation.”
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