Change to business rates ‘missed opportunity’

Shoppers

The Scottish Retail Consortium has described the recent announcement by Deputy First Minister John Swinney that local authorities will be able to cut business rates as “a missed opportunity to arrest the cost pressures and structural deficiencies in the system which undermine existing businesses and holds back new investment”.

David Martin, Head of Policy & External Affairs at the SRC, said the announcement was welcome acknowledgment of the need to keep costs down on retailers and other businesses, but added: “We need a more imaginative approach to reform in Scotland, one which leads to business rates flexing with economic conditions and a more sustainable overall reduction in the tax burden for ratepayers.”

Martin said the current system of business rates was out of date and no longer fit for purpose, and “has become a tax on jobs and growth and undermines investment in property, especially in town centre and high streets”.