Business backing for Independence grows

The SNP is winning the battle for the hearts and minds of Scotland's business community, according to a new survey.

As the party prepares to celebrate 12 months in office after winning the election a year ago tomorrow, the poll for the Scotsman shows that the business community is starting to believe in the SNP.

The poll, of 648 businessmen and women, found 39 per cent were now more in favour of independence than 12 months ago.

And 57.5 per cent of respondents believed the SNP was doing a good or excellent job in power.

Only 18.2 per cent thought that the SNP' performance had been poor or disastrous.

According to people from across the business community, the SNP's cut of business rates, in the Small Business Bonus Scheme, has brought cheer to many and swung support towards them.

It has seen many small businesses save hundreds or even thousands of pounds a year, boosting their profit margins by up to a third.

Jim Mather, the enterprise and tourism minister, has a strong track record as a businessman and is at the heart of pushing the efforts to boost tourism by 50 per cent in Scotland.

Responding to the poll today, Mr Mather said his approach was to go out and talk to as many sectors of the business community as he could.

"My feeling is that the business community did not feel the previous administration engaged with them properly," he said. "One of my main tasks is to go out and talk to all these sectors, get people together and see what we could do about growing Scotland's economy.

"We have set that as one of our top priorities and I think that has chimed well with business people."

Aberdeen North MSP Brian Adam added:

"One year on from the election that brought the SNP to
Government with a promise of making Scotland wealthier we are seeing the proof
of the pudding with this survey.

"It is welcome to see that the SNP has
delivered to the business community with our small business bonus which will see
150,000 small businesses benefit as their rates begin to fall.

"Contrast
this with the UK Government's policy which has seen increased taxation on small
business making it harder for firms to invest their profits and grow their
business. No wonder the London Labour government has had a disastrous night at
the polls.

"The SNP is committed to making Scotland a more successful
country that is both smarter and wealthier. The SNP is delivering, perhaps the
UK Government should take note."