Letter to DFM

Swinney urged to impose freeze on business rate

David Lonsdale
Signatory: David Lonsdale (pic: Terry Murden)

Nineteen business lobby groups and industry bodies have written to John Swinney demanding he freezes the business rate for the next tinancial year.

The letter to the Deputy First Minister and interim Finance Secretary is signed by groups representing retailers, wholesalers, engineers, and those in the tourism and hospitality sectors.

Their demand comes ahead of the unveiling of the Scottish Government’s Budget on 15 December.

Scotland’s business rate is already at a 23-year high, say the business groups who also point out that last week, in the UK Government’s Autumn Statement, the Chancellor confirmed the business rate in England would not increase next April. 

In their letter, the organisations say they recognise the cost and inflationary pressures facing the Scottish Government and the help provided by the government,

However, they note that “the cost of doing business is spiralling, and the near-term economic outlook is weak.”

The letter adds: “Given the decision taken in the UK Autumn Statement we ask that at the very least Scottish Ministers follow suit and similarly freeze the headline business rate poundage in the coming financial year.

“This would aid firms with the costs crisis, help them keep down prices for customers, and ensure that no more Scottish commercial premises than currently do end up paying a higher business rate than applies down south. It would support business investment and retain Scotland’s competitiveness for most ratepayers.


David Lonsdale, Director, Scottish Retail Consortium

Sandy Begbie CBE, Chief Executive, Scottish Financial Enterprise

Tracy Black, Director, CBI Scotland

Dr Liz Cameron CBE, Chief Executive, Scottish Chambers of Commerce

Phil Clapp, Chief Executive, UK Cinema Association

Marc Crothall MBE, Chief Executive, Scottish Tourism Alliance

Huw Edwards, CEO, ukactive

Mark Kent, Chief Executive, Scotch Whisky Association

Sarah-Jane Laing, Chief Executive, Scottish Land & Estates

Warrick Malcolm, Director, ADS Scotland

Catherine McWilliam, Nations Director, IoD Scotland

David Melhuish, Director, Scottish Property Federation

Gordon Nelson, Scotland Director, Federation of Master Builders

Garry Richmond, Director, Print Scotland

Paul Sheerin, Chief Executive, Scottish Engineering

Alasdair Smith, Chief Executive, Scottish Bakers

Colin Smith, Chief Executive, Scottish Wholesale Association

David Thomson, Chief Executive, Food & Drink Federation Scotland

Leon Thompson, Executive Director, UKHospitality Scotland

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