Dundee City Council is falling behind the national average in how much it spends with local small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), according to figures uncovered by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
Launching its manifesto ahead of the May 4 council polls, the small business campaign group says Dundee’s incoming administration must pledge to increase spending with local firms.
Statistics collated by the Improvement Service – the national organisation tasked with improving local government – show that the Dundee City Council spent only 17% of their procurement budget with smaller firms in the area, compared with a national average of 20%. Aberdeen City Council in contrast, spends 26% of its budget with local firms and Shetland Islands council uses more than half (53.6%) of its spending power to boost the local economy.
Around 89% of businesses in Dundee are small and medium sized enterprise (SMEs), accounting for more than 24,000 – or 47% – of private sector jobs, along with over 6,000 self-employed.
Graham Bradley, Chair of the FSB in Dundee & Angus, said: “Council budgets are under significant pressure. That’s why it is important that they squeeze every drop of value out of their spending power. Figures show that if councils increased their spend with smaller, local firms by 2% per year, it would generate an extra £3m per annum for local economies.”
“Dundee has a strong small business base and we’d like to see the get more opportunities to benefit from local procurement. Evidence shows a direct benefit through spend with local firms and the re-spend of those firms back in the local economy.”
FSB’s procurement call is a key recommendation from their 2017 Scottish local government election manifesto, launched today. The group is also pressing for action to ensure city deals work for local economies and for action to improve connectivity.