£600m funding call

Tories demand rates action in Forbes’ budget

Kate Forbes and Liz Smith met to discuss budget

Scottish Conservatives are calling for confirmation of extended business rates relief in Kate Forbes’ budget.

The Finance Secretary will deliver her statement on Thursday amid a potential faltering of business confidence and performance as a result of new Covid restrictions.

Ms Forbes is already facing calls from the travel, hospitality and retail sectors for continued support as the UK and devolved governments impose tighter rules to halt the spread of the Omicron variant.

The Scottish Conservatives today say the Scottish Budget should include more support for businesses, local government and the NHS.

Scottish Conservative finance spokeswoman Liz Smith is calling for a £600 million package of support, saying has the Budget must include a freeze on the poundage rate and a full year of 75% rates relief on leisure, hospitality, retail, aviation and newspaper businesses.

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The party will also urge the SNP to rebuild public services post-Covid by properly funding local government and Scotland’s NHS. 

Ms Smith, who met Ms Forbes last week to discuss priorities for the Scottish Budget, added that extra funding from Rishi Sunak’s UK Budget should be passed on in full to Scotland’s NHS and councils, including the full £2.1 billion in UK health consequentials and £1.2bn for local services

She said: “The SNP must deliver a Budget that fully focuses on Scotland’s recovery from Covid.

“Scottish jobs, businesses and public services must be protected and supported through this difficult time.

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