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Scots MP to carry out 'work experience' today at Perthshire hygiene firm
Member of the Scottish Parliament for Mid-Scotland Claire Baker, will today visit a small Fife business, sanitary hygiene services firm Co-An UK, to carry out a 'work experience' placement.
She is visiting as part of the Forum of Private Business's 'Business Buddy' scheme, a project which puts politicians and other key Government decision makers in touch with local firms for them to see firsthand the real contribution small firms make to the UK economy.
The visits are also a chance for politicians to hear about the specific issues faced by small firms due to the current economic climate.
Owner of the business in Blairgowrie, Colin Rhind, says changes to the way local authorities managed the public sector procurement process are high on his list of points to raise during the visit.
"Since the SNP came to power and changed the public sector procurement process we have lost thousands of pounds worth of contracts," he says. "In fact we reckon the new system they've introduced has cost us in the region of £250,000 in lost business with local councils.
"And it's not just us either, there lots of other small businesses that have been affected and are now losing out to much larger firms. We've been forced to shed staff, from 27 to 17.
"The other issue therefore is that with 99% of our staff local to the area, they are suffering as the work is going to companies that are not domiciled in this area. The people laid off have families and depend on local work.
"So this is just one of the issues we want to talk to Claire about, though there are plenty more such as the state of the roads which deters businesses and potential customers from coming here too."
Ahead of the visit, Labour MSP Claire said: "I am looking forward to my visit to Co-An UK and meeting with Colin and his staff.
"It will be interesting to find out the challenges that are involved in the everyday running of a small business in the region that I represent.
"I'm sure I will leave the visit having a better understanding of the issues Mr Rhind and other small business owners are currently facing."
Established in 1977, Co-An offers a wide range of janitorial supplies, washroom and clinical waste services in Scotland and North East England. It is a member of the UK's Cleaning & Hygiene Suppliers Association.
26th July 2012