Date lodged: 24 August 2017
To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to retain (a) shops and (b) businesses in (i) towns and (ii) cities; how it can help them in reducing their bills; what its position is on introducing an extended 12-month period of business rates relief for them, and what specific support it can offer to those that (A) are investing in expansion and (B) source their supplies locally rather than through wholesale distributors.
Answered by: Derek Mackay 19 September 2017
The Scottish Government acted decisively in light of the 2017 rates revaluation, cutting the rates poundage, limiting application of the large business supplement so that 8,000 fewer properties pay it, and expanding the Small Business Bonus Scheme so that it lifts 100,000 properties out of rates altogether.
Further rates relief was also targeted where it was most needed, including in the hospitality sector and for office space in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, as part of a total package of relief worth around £660 million this year. Local authorities can also further reduce rates following the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015.
The Scottish Government has now responded to the recent Barclay review, and has gone beyond Barclay's recommendations to support business. New properties will only be entered in the valuation roll once first occupied. A ‘business growth accelerator’ will mean no rates for a year for new premises once occupied, and no increases for a year for upgrading or expansion of existing premises. And 'Fresh Start' relief will be increased to 100% and extended to all property types, to incentivise re-use of vacant property. An implementation plan will be published by the end of the year.