Retail alarm over Green call for two-stage business rates
David Lonsdale: ‘hugely retrograde step’ (pic: Terry Murden)
Retailers have expressed concern at the Green Party’s call for a two-stage business rates system.
The party wants a rate set by the Scottish Government and a second by local authorities.
It has proposed an amendment to the Non-Domestic Rates Bill going through the Scottish parliament.
David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said retailers, who pay 22% of all business rates, fear that businesses will be treated like “vote-less cash cows”.
He said: “Retailers stump up over a fifth of all rates paid, and with shops under enormous pressure action is certainly needed to reduce rates bills which are now at a 20-year high.
“However, this double taxation plan – allowing councils to set an additional poundage rate on top of that currently set by Scottish Ministers – would be a hugely retrograde step.
“Councils are already able to reduce business rates in their area, but only three of the 32 have ever bothered to do so.
“SRC is resolutely opposed to handing councils control over the poundage rate as it could lead to firms being treated like vote-less cash cows, pushing business rates up even higher and further hitting competitiveness.”