South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has described the SNP Government’s flagship Business Pledge as a “flop” after new figures revealed this week showed that just 25 businesses in Dumfries and Galloway had so far signed the pledge.

The Scottish Government has spent millions of pounds promoting its Business Pledge scheme which aimed to get businesses to sign up and help grow and promote the Scottish economy.

However, across Scotland, a mere 0.2% of businesses have signed up to the scheme, only 399 businesses in total- with just 25 in Dumfries and Galloway.

The pledge commits the businesses to paying the Living Wage plus they have to choose two more commitments from – not using exploitative zero hours contracts, supporting progressive workforce engagement, investing in Youth, making progress on diversity and gender balance, committing to an innovation programme, pursuing international business opportunities, playing an active role in the community and committing to prompt payment. In addition, the businesses have to commit to meeting all nine pledges in the long term.

Colin Smyth MSP said: 

“The Scottish Government have spent a fortune of taxpayers money promoting their so-called Business Pledge yet just 25 business in Dumfries and Galloway have signed up. Given that there are nearly 6000 businesses in the region, it’s clear that the pledge has been a flop. I have little doubt that there are many other businesses out there who meet the criteria but clearly they view the Government’s pledge as a waste of time. If this is the way, the Scottish Government are pursuing ending the scandal of low pay and zero hours’ contracts then they are failing miserably. The money the Government have wasted on PR stunt would have been better spent on actual support for local businesses”.

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