Council owned businesses ‘paying lower rates’

Boardwalk Beach Club
Boardwalk Cafe overlooks Cramond foreshore

A seafront cafe owner is calling for a review of the business rating system after claiming that properties owned by Edinburgh City Council are being given preferential treatment.

Eddie Tait, who owns the Boardwalk Beach Club on Cramond Foreshore, has highlighted a number of cases where privately-owned businesses have been given a substantially higher rateable value.

His own business has seen its RV shoot up from £3,500 when he acquired it in 2016 to £42,000 in the latest assessment. Other businesses in the area are similarly rated. The Cramond Inn is £34,000 and Mimi’s Cafe at Lauriston Castle is £30,000, while the castle itself – owned by the council – has a rateable value of just £17,400.

Other council-owned property have low valuations. The Writer’s Museum off The Mound has an RV of £21,200. The Garden Bistro at Saughton is valued at £22,600 and the Meadows Pavilion at £20,000.

“This is a total sham,” said Mr Tait. “There is a big question of fairness here and why council property seems to be rated lower than private businesses. The assessors just seem to be plucking figures out of the air.”

He said the hikes imposed make it “difficult to run a business” in the city. “It puts businesses like mine into a state of worry,” he said.

Mr Tait urged the city’s businesses and MPs to take up the issue and demand a “root and branch” review of the system.

A City of Edinburgh Council spokesperson said: “The council has no say in the rateable values of the properties. This is something that is independently assessed by the assessors, and in our case Lothian Valuation Joint Board.”

The Scottish Assessors Association is made up of independent public officials who decide the rateable value of property listed on a local valuation roll.

Daily Business left a message with the SAA and is awaiting a response.

>>Rateable values of properties can be found here

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