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£10m investment fund ‘has not been spent’

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Scottish Enterprise has invested just £500,000 from a £10m fund that is supposed to help businesses grow, a Holyrood committee has revealed.

MSPs said they were concerned that the funds from the Scottish-European Growth Co-Investment Programme had not yet been used.

They called on Scottish Enterprise to take “urgent action” to ensure the money is spent.

Scottish Enterprise stressed that it was committed to boosting the economy.

But it said there are a range of factors that have an impact on its budget, and it needed to “work carefully” to manage them.

It came after the economy committee’s pre-budget report revealed Scottish Enterprise underspent by a total of £13m in 2017/18.

‘Lack of progress’

Most of this was from the Scottish-European Growth Co-investment Programme, which offers Scottish government and European money to “businesses in all areas of Scotland looking for equity investment to meet their growth ambitions”.

In their report, the MSPs said they were “concerned about the lack of progress” in committing the funds.

The report said: “With only £0.5m invested by Scottish Enterprise out of a pot of £10m, the programme has not been a success to date.”

The committee added: “Given the underspend in financial transaction money over the last year, the committee does not have confidence that Scottish Enterprise will commit the increased funds.”

A spokesman for Scottish Enterprise said: “We remain dedicated to stimulating inclusive economic growth in Scotland using all of the support mechanisms available to us, and are working with companies the length and breadth of the country to grow and expand their operations.”

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