Call to reverse rates increase for ‘large business’

Derek Mackay

Thirteen of Scotland’s large business organisations have written a joint letter to the Scottish Government’s cabinet secretary for finance Derek Mackay seeking a reversal of the decision to double the business rates large business supplement from 1.3p in the pound to 2.6p.

They argued the supplement will affect one in eight commercial premises in Scotland and is expected to add £62 million to these businesses’ rates bills in the current year.

The group includes CBI Scotland, the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, the Scotch Whisky Association, the Institute of Directors Scotland and the Scottish Retail Consortium.

“Our organisations have a range of ideas on how Scotland’s system of business rates could be used to deliver the support to businesses that the Scottish Government is committed to, but we collectively believe that one measure requires to be taken in your upcoming budget in order to level the playing field on business rates between Scotland and England,” the letter said.

“That is, to reverse the decision to double the rate of the Large Business Supplement from 1.3 pence in the pound to 2.6 pence in the pound.

“This supplement affects one out of every eight commercial premises in Scotland and is expected to add a further £62 million to these businesses’ rates bills in the current year.

“Reducing the surcharge to the level which applies in England would not only be fair and make Scotland’s business rates more competitive, but would also help to reduce the cost base of many hard pressed businesses at this time of economic uncertainty.

“We appreciate that the 2017 rates revaluation is looming and that the work of the Barclay Review of Business Rates is just beginning to get underway, but a reduction in the large business supplement back to 1.3 pence would go a long way to levelling the business rates playing field across the United Kingdom.”

The letter is signed by:

Hugh Aitken, Director, CBI Scotland

Richard Bird, Executive Officer, British Aggregates Association

Bryan Buchan, Chief Executive, Scottish Engineering

Liz Cameron, Chief Executive, Scottish Chambers of Commerce

Pete Cheema, Chief Executive, Scottish Grocers Federation

Marc Crothall, Chief Executive, Scottish Tourism Alliance

David Frost, Chief Executive, Scotch Whisky Association

David Lonsdale, Director, Scottish Retail Consortium

Willie Macleod, Executive Director, British Hospitality Association Scotland

Ross Martin, Chief Executive, Scottish Council for Development and Industry

David Melhuish, Director, Scottish Property Federation

David Thomson, CEO, Scottish Food and Drink Federation

David Watt, Executive Director, Institute of Directors Scotland