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‘Half of RSA grant funding’ taken by US computer firm

A controversial £7m award to a US computer giant accounted for almost half the amount dished out by the Scottish Government under a key funding scheme for business in the latest quarter.

The grant provided to HP was by far the biggest out of the 32 awards made under the Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) scheme between July and September. A total of 32 awards were accepted by firms during the period, worth £14.8m in total.

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Recipients promised the funding would create 1447 jobs and safeguard a further 470.

HP’s Enterprise Services arm said it would use the money to create 721 jobs in an IT service hub that it is developing at its plant in Renfrewshire.

However, the Scottish government was criticised in August when it announced that it had given HP the money just over a year after the company said it was cutting 700 posts through the closure of its manufacturing operation. It is transferring production to the Czech Republic.

Ministers have come under fire in the past for using RSA funding to bankroll projects that were launched by footloose overseas corporations that went on to shift investment overseas.

The next biggest award, worth £1.7m, went to Vertex which has said it will create 368 back office posts in Glasgow to service banks including Tesco Bank.

The UK arm of American glass giant O-I manufacturing received £1.3m to support production at Alloa, Clackmannanshire, and said the funding would safeguard 112 jobs.

Recipients of smaller awards include Arran Aromatics, the toiletries firm that has headquarters on the eponymous island.

The company was awarded £52,500 to support the creation of four jobs at its plant in Dundonald, Ayrshire, and safeguard 14.

Lena Wilson, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, said: “These results show that despite the challenging economic conditions both indigenous and foreign companies continue to see Scotland as the right place to invest and grow.”

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