Monday, 21 February 2011

SNP Candidate Welcomes Scottish Government Support For Post Offices

Banffshire & Buchan Coast SNP candidate Stewart Stevenson MSP has welcomed the announcement from the Scottish Government that it is delivering a second £1 million challenge fund to help postmasters embark on new business activities and a new £10 million scheme to support the creation of jobs in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The initiatives were announced by Finance Secretary John Swinney as part of the Scottish Government's 2011/12 Budget Bill.

The Post Office fund follows the success of a similar £1 million scheme this year, which has seen 49 small post offices around Scotland receiving offers of awards of up to £25,000, helping them provide new services not available locally, such as the sale of fresh produce.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“Post Offices provide valuable public services to my constituents and I believe that the large-scale loss of these services would be detrimental to local communities. I am therefore pleased that, even though the Post Office is a matter reserved to the Westminster Government, the SNP Scottish Government is doing its bit to support local communities.

“The Post Office network cannot be treated as simply another private enterprise. It is an essential national provider of public services which must be maintained and I am committed to doing whatever I can as an MSP to support the Post Office network.”

Enterprise Minister Jim Mather said:

"A key part of next year's Budget is doing the maximum possible to sustain economic recovery in Scotland.

"The Scottish Government has been working to create an increasingly supportive environment for small businesses. Our Small Business Bonus Scheme has slashed rates for tens of thousands of firms in Scotland and now, as a response to calls to maximise initiatives to support employment growth in the private sector, we will invest a further £10 million in a new "small business - big job" programme.

"It will be focused on encouraging smaller companies to expand their business base and looking to employ more people.

"Related to this, we will launch a further £1 million diversification fund to help sustain Post Offices which play an integral part in community life, providing services on which many families and local businesses depend.

"This year's scheme has proved a hit with significant demand and we want to build on its success and the evidence of further innovative projects by making more resources available as part of a comprehensive package of support for small firms in Scotland."
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