Business rates 'not fit for purpose'

Demand for Scottish rates review after Westminster takes action

GyleScottish retailers have stepped up their campaign for a review of business rates north of the border following a decision by the Westminster government to examine new ways of taxing businesses.

The Scottish Retail Consortium says Westminster has set out a number of important questions, including whether business rates should remain a property-based tax.

The SRC has previously claimed that the rates system is in need of a shake-up and now says the Westminster review – which only impacts on businesses based in England – should trigger a similar response from Holyrood.

David Martin, Head of Policy & External Affairs, said: “The current system of business rates is not fit for purpose and acts as a drag on Scottish economic growth. It acts as a disincentive to invest and unlike any other national tax it fails to flex with economic circumstances – 69% of MSPs agree that current system is in need of reform.

“That is why we recently launched a comprehensive case for reform of business rates in Scotland which was backed by a wide range of businesses and representative groups.

“Whilst the news is good for ratepayers in England, it does not apply to Scotland. This should concentrate minds in the Scottish Government, as it is no longer an option to say that fundamental reform is too difficult or complicated – that particular ship has sailed.

“Scotland can choose to stand still but, with the promise of reform elsewhere in the UK, risks leaving businesses in Scotland at a competitive disadvantage.”

The Federation of Small Business in Scotland, which has also campaigned on the issue is expected to unveil further demands tomorrow.


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