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12 September 2017

FSB backs new Scottish investment rates relief

Reference number: SPUR1209

- Ministers must drive reform programme

Cabinet Secretary Derek Mackay has delivered the Scottish Government’s official response to the Barclay Review of Non-Domestic Rates.

Ministers have committed to a new rates relief for Scottish nurseries and a three-year revaluation cycle. They have also adopted the Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) proposals to give firms who invest in their property a 2-year grace period before they face a bigger rates bill – the so-called business growth accelerator scheme.

Andy Willox, the FSB’s Scottish policy convenor, said: “The Scottish Government has committed to a mostly sensible programme of rates reform that’s a product of the art of the possible.

“Growing firms should now be able to recoup some of their costs before being hit with a bigger rates bill. A three-year revaluation cycle should mean that businesses’ bills better reflect economic conditions. New relief for Scottish nurseries should give these important local businesses a much needed shot in the arm. These are all sensible measures which FSB is pleased to back.”

Following FSB campaigning on this front, the Cabinet Secretary also promised a dramatic improvement in the user-friendliness of the system – charging Scottish councils and assessors to deliver substantial reforms.

Andy Willox said: “The current business rates system is archaic. The Scottish Government must take responsibility for driving reforms and delivering a more modern, transparent system.”

Ministers have also promised to measure the economic and social impact of the Small Business Bonus scheme at the end of this parliament. Further, the Scottish Government has committed to additional transitional revaluation support for hospitality businesses and firms in the north east.

Andy Willox said: “The Cab Sec is right to extend revaluation help for a further year.

“The review of the Small Business Bonus scheme must be focussed on designing the best rates help for smaller firms. It can’t be an excuse to withdraw help for businesses so vital to our local communities.”