Warning on added costs
Bigger Scottish firms paying double business rates
Out of town centres are hoping to escape an extra rates burden
Big companies in Scotland are contributing twice as much in business rates than they would if the Scottish government had kept them on a par with the rest of the UK.
Latest figures have revealed medium and large firms north of the border have had to cough up the extra cash as a result of changes to the large business supplement.
In 2018/19, it is estimated the total bill for big companies will be £129,252,100, according to the parliamentary written answer by SNP ministers.
But if that rate had been kept on par with the rest of the UK, businesses would only have to pay £64,626,550.
Since 2016/17, the Scottish Conservatives say the additional burden totals £190,776,450.
Shadow economy secretary Dean Lockhart warned the nationalists’ high-tax agenda would hurt the economy and reduce job opportunities.
He also echoed warnings by a number of business groups that an “out of town” levy would result in a double-whammy for businesses in Scotland.
That proposal, which is a recommendation in the Barclay review of business rates, has been criticised by more than 30 business organisations in Scotland as adding “complexity, unpredictability and cost to a wide range of businesses that are already working hard to contribute to their local communities”.
Additional amount paid by Scottish businesses since the change:
2016/17 – £62,437,450
2017/18 – £63,712,450
2018/19 – £64,626,550
Total since change – £190,776,450
Mr Lockhart said: “The Scottish economy continues to suffer under this SNP government. The SNP has now made Scotland the highest-taxed part of the UK for income tax and the highest-taxed part of the UK to run a business.
“The SNP has increasingly asked Scottish businesses to pay more and now they are considering an out-of-town levy that will add more cost and more complexity to business taxes.
“It is no wonder that our high streets are struggling and business numbers are falling dramatically across Scotland.
“The SNP must focus on improving the Scottish economy, not imposing unsustainable taxes on Scottish businesses.”
Derek Mackay, the Scottish Finance Secretary, told Daily Business last month that he had no plan to introduce the levy, although it was still being examined.