There is “no evidence” that a flagship £2.8billion SNP scheme intended to help small businesses has actually done so, experts have concluded.
In a bruising 234-page report, economists from the respected Fraser of Allander Institute thinktank cast doubt on whether the Small Business Bonus Scheme (SBBS) had ever achieved its fundamental aim.
Despite the huge sums of public money involved, the experts said it had been “exceptionally difficult to reach any definitive conclusions” about its impact.
A lack of useful data and other problems made it “almost impossible for any systematic assessment” to be done into how it affected jobs, investment or business growth.
The official evalution report said that, although businesses felt there were benefits to the SBBS, the experts could “find no empirical evidence that identifies the SBBS as supporting enhanced business outcomes”.
It added: “The limitations we faced mean this should be interpreted as being that there is no evidence of an effect rather than there being evidence of the SBBS having no effect.”