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Exclusive: Barclay report due

Business rates review to be published next week

Ken Barclay

Ken Barclay: report likely to recommend change to appeals system (photo by Terry Murden)


Ken Barclay’s report on the future of Scotland’s business rates will be published next week, Daily Business has learned.

It is thought that one recommendation will be to simplify the appeals procedure.

The report had been expected in June, then July, and will now be presented to ministers on 22 August following a year-long investigation into the operation of the rates system.

The delay may indicate that the government-appointed commission will recommend a significant change as Mr Barclay said more time would be requested if such a change was being contemplated.

The commission was given a “blank canvas” but whatever it recommends it has to be “revenue neutral”. So it is likely that it may suggest some re-balancing of levies on different types and sizes of businesses.

The five members of the commission include former Scottish Enterprise veteran  Prof Russel Griggs and public relations executive Nora Senior. The others are former senior civil servant David Henderson, and the senior tax partner at Brodies, Isobel d’Inverno.

The business rates system is the biggest single devolved tax, raising £2.8 billion.

It is also one of the most heavily criticised levies. Some business leaders have described the system as “no longer fit for purpose” and have demanded it be replaced with something fairer and simpler.

 

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