Finance Secretary Kate Forbes has announced new measures to limit the impact of COVID-19 on Scottish businesses.
The following steps have been put in place for the 2020-21 financial year:
- Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a rateable value of less than £69,000 will receive a 75% rates relief from 1 April 2020.
- An £80m fund will provide grants of at least £3,000 for small businesses in sectors facing the worst economic impact of COVID-19.
- All properties across Scotland will receive a 1.6% rates relief, effectively reversing the planned uplift in the poundage from 1 April 2020.
- Pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 will receive a fixed rates relief of up to £5,000 from 1 April 2020.
The Finance Secretary will also write to all local authorities to urge them into responding positively to requests from rate payers for payment deferrals for a fixed period.
Forbes said COVID-19 will have challenging implications for businesses and the economy over the coming weeks and months.
She added: “All rate-payers will benefit from a relief that effectively reverses the planned inflationary uplift in the poundage that was due to come into effect in April.
“The measures I’m announcing today (16 March 2020) will provide £320 million of assistance to Scottish business and ensures that all Non Domestic Rate consequentials we expect to receive from the UK Government associated with the COVID-19 outbreak will be used to provide Scottish business with support through what is likely to be a difficult time. We will also be making the case to the UK Government that, because of the larger number of small businesses in Scotland, we need additional resources to be able to provide further support.
“Businesses receiving support are being encouraged to operate with fair work principles including supporting staff to self-isolate when they need to and if they have caring responsibilities and to consider keeping staff in employment where at all possible.
“We continue to work closely with our partners to identify what further support is needed and I’d encourage any businesses with questions relating to the impact of COVID-19 to contact the helpline we launched this week.”