Business rates boost

Rates bonus for cafes, shops and aviation as Chiquito closes

Cafes and bars get full rates relief

Restaurants, pubs, cafes, shops and cinemas will have no rates to pay for the whole of the next financial year as part of the Scottish Government’s rescue package.

The 100% relief was confirmed today by Ben Macpherson, Public Finance Minister. It will cover a range of businesses in the retail, hospitality, leisure and aviation sectors. The list also includes bingo halls and letting agents.

The rates relief measures are part of the Scottish Government’s £2.2 billion plan to support businesses as they experience the impact of COVID-19. The Scottish Government is working with local authorities to make sure this relief is implemented as soon as possible.

Mr Macpherson said: “While our primary concern is for people’s health, it is clear that the COVID-19 outbreak is significantly impacting Scotland’s economy – particularly businesses in the hospitality, retail, tourism, aviation and leisure industries.

“The Scottish Government is determined to take decisive action to support businesses through this crisis, and these rates reliefs will provide an important source of financial support for companies in these sectors and their staff during this difficult time.”

The Non-Domestic Rates (Coronavirus Reliefs) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 have been laid in the Scottish Parliament.

Mr Macpherson’s statement came after it was announced that the majority of Chiquito restaurants are to close permanently. Owner, the Restaurant Group, which also owns Wagamama and Frankie & Benny’s, said 61 out of 80 branches of the Tex-Mex dining chain would not reopen and it had called in administrators to the chain.

Restaurant chain Carluccio’s has drafted in advisers to look at pushing the company into administration, affecting around 2,000 workers.

FRP Advisory confirmed it had been appointed by Carluccio’s with all options open, although with all sites shut due to coronavirus a collapse is most likely, it is understood.

Talks are under way to support Highlands airports

Aviation support

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said the Scottish Government is doing everything it can to provide support to the aviation industry.

“Airports, ground handling service providers and Loganair will receive 100% business rate relief for a year.

“We are also working with Highlands and Islands Airports Limited to identify shovel ready projects that can be brought forward to stimulate economic activity once this crisis is over, as well as improve infrastructure and passenger facilities at their airports.

“These measures will help ensure Scotland’s aviation industry can work towards restoring the connectivity needed to support our economy and our remote communities in the Highlands and Islands.”

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