MSPs back review of Scottish Government payments to dodgy corporations


Money to business giants like Amazon will be reviewed by the government

THE MILLIONS OF POUNDS given in grant support to multinational companies will be subject to a Scottish Government review, following the recommendation of the Scottish Parliament’s economy committee.

Currently grant payments, like Regional Selective Assistance, are distributed to firms through government quango Scottish Enterprise.

The procedure faced criticism when it emerged that Amazon, who have faced accusations of poor treatment of workers and tax avoidance, received PS5.4m in public grants between 2005 and 2015.

Trade union leaders welcomed the review. Quoted in The Scotsman , Gary Smith, secretary of the GMB Union in Scotland, said: “Taxpayers money should not be going to bad employers.

“It’s just not acceptable that we’re giving out Scottish tax payers’ money to companies that don’t afford their workers basic rights.”

Investigative group The Ferret outlined the scale of public funding for the corporation, which paid just PS11.9m in tax on total takings of PS5.3bn in its last accounts.

A report published by the cross-party economy, energy and tourism committee, supported “an adjustment to the priorities of the Scottish Government’s enterprise agencies” to support high pay and ethical labour conditions.

Specifically in the case of Regional Selective Assistance, the committee added: “In respect of Regional Selective Assistance grant funding, given commitments to fair work policies made since 2009, we request that the Scottish Government review the process for high value awards in order to consider whether changes may be required to ensure that recipients comply with these policies.”

Scottish Enterprise, which manages the funding, is one of the most significant Scottish Government bodies – managing a PS320m budget for 2015/16 focused on economic development.

Lockheed Martin, the world’s biggest arms company, also received PS2.5m through the Regional Selective Assistance fund – despite global profits of $3.6bn.

The payment was criticised by Scottish Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie MSP .

Cabinet secretary for fair work, Roseanna Cunningham, has stated that she expects “robust internal discussions” on future funding.

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Picture courtesy of soumit