Scottish Government
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Blueprint to overhaul business rates

Action plan for Scottish businesses

Councils across Scotland will have the opportunity to adjust their own business rates relief packages to suit their circumstances, under a new action plan unveiled today by Local Government Minister Derek Mackay.

Scottish Government measures announced for the business rates taxation system follow a three-month consultation with ratepayers, trade bodies and business organisations.

Scotland offers the most generous rates relief package in the UK currently worth over £560 million to Scottish business in the present financial year.

The business rates system will be improved by making it more transparent and providing businesses with access to simple, clear information about business rates and valuations.

A wide ranging review of the valuation appeal system will take place over the next year with a new appeals system in place before the next revaluation.

The Scottish Government will also be writing to every business in Scotland to ensure all who are eligible are benefitting from the Small Business Bonus Scheme.

Derek MacKay said:

“The Scottish Government already offers the best package of rates relief to business available in the UK. Two in every five business properties across Scotland benefit from zero or reduced rates through the Small Business Bonus Scheme.

“Today’s action plan will deliver a rates system in Scotland that supports sustainable economic growth and helps Scotland’s businesses and communities.

“As part of our commitment to local decision making, we propose that Scotland’s local authorities will be given the power to set local rates reliefs allowing them to respond to the needs of their communities.

“The Scottish Government is committed to maintaining the Small Business Bonus Scheme, and to matching the English poundage for the lifetime of this Parliament.

“All current exemptions provided, including to some key sectors such as agriculture, will be retained.

“We will review rates relief application processes to ensure they are simple, transparent and streamlined.

“With any tax there will always be those who try to avoid paying. That is clearly not fair on the vast majority who do pay their fair share and we will crack down on avoidance wherever we find it.”

Councillor Kevin Keenan, COSLA’s Finance Spokesman said:

“COSLA welcomes today’s announcement. Whilst we still need to see the actual detail of what the individual elements mean in practice, we particularly see the new powers to create local business rates relief as a positive step in empowering Councils to respond to local business needs. Sitting very much in line with our Vision for Scottish Local Government into the future.”

Notes to editors

Supporting Business: Promoting Growth – Scottish Government Response to consultation – http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2013/09/22344

Supporting Business: Promoting Growth – Consultation Analysis – http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2013/09/1530

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