Following a campaign led and co-ordinated by the Scottish Retail Consortium, the Scottish Government commissioned an external panel of experts led by former RBS Scotland chairman Ken Barclay to review the £2.8 billion business rates system. The Barclay Review reported in autumn 2017. The SRC Board met with the Review and provided written and oral evidence calling for a more flexible and competitive rates regime in Scotland. As a result several important reforms are now being implemented – including more frequent rates revaluations, and reducing by half the time between valuations and them coming into force.
Following SRC campaigning the Scottish Government has decided to limit 2018’s rise in the business rates poundage to CPI, rather than RPI. This positive news will shave £5 million off the rates bills of retailers in 2018-19.
High profile campaigning from the SRC has shifted the dial on the Large Business Rates Supplement and influenced Scottish Government policy. As a result the Scottish Finance Secretary increased the threshold from April 2017 so that 2,430 fewer retail premises in Scotland were liable for the Large Business Rates Supplement. This means that a third of retail premises affected by the Supplement will no longer have to pay it. The SRC will maintain the pressure so that the remaining 5,077 shops affected also benefit from full restoration of the level playing field on the Large Business Rates Supplement with England and Wales.