SRC slams proposed regional rates amendment

David Lonsdale

Green Party MSP Andy Wightman has proposed an amendment to the Non-Domestic Rates Bill currently before the Scottish Parliament that would see ratepayers pay two poundage rates.

As well as a national rate levied throughout Scotland and set by Ministers at Holyrood, businesses would also have to pay a regional rate set by their local authority.

With rates at a 20-year high, the Scottish Retail Consortium blasted the proposal. Its Director David Lonsdale (pictured) said shops were under enormous pressure and action was needed to bring bills down.

“This double taxation plan – allowing councils to set an additional poundage rate on top of that currently set by Scottish Ministers ­– would be a hugely retrograde step,” he said.

Councils are already able to reduce business rates in their area, however only three of 32 local authorities have ever done so.

Lonsdale added: “SRC is resolutely opposed to handing councils control over the poundage rate as it could lead to firms being treated like vote-less cash cows, pushing business rates up even higher and further hitting competitiveness.”