SCOTLAND MUST FOLLOW SUIT ON BUSINESS RATES INDEXATION, SAYS RETAILERS
Wednesday, 22 November 2017
In a preliminary response to the Chancellor’s Budget, David Lonsdale, Director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said:
“Prospects for Scotland’s retailers are ultimately determined by the state of the economy and their own ability to adapt and seize on the opportunities that arise. The downgrade in predictions for economic growth, productivity and consumer spending are therefore sobering, more so as Scotland’s economy has recently underperformed the UK as a whole on these indicators. With household incomes under strain and shoppers cautious, it is imperative the Scottish Government’s own budget next month focuses relentlessly on economic growth.
“Retailers will welcome the Chancellor’s decision to bring forward by two years plans to link annual rises in the business rate poundage to CPI rather than RPI, something which the retail industry has led the charge on. The switch to CPI indexation is long awaited, was endorsed by the Barclay Review, and is a step towards a more sensible and affordable rates regime. What is crucial is that Scottish Ministers follow suit, otherwise firms here in Scotland will be paying a headline business rate higher than competitors and counterparts down south from April as well as a higher large firms rates supplement.
“It’s also welcome to see the Chancellor take other measures to recognise the importance of productivity and innovation in his budget. Continued investment in infrastructure is crucial for economic growth, and we hope the Scottish Government use those Barnett consequential revenues to continue to enhance both digital and transport infrastructure in Scotland.
“Hard pressed consumers will benefit from the increase in the income tax personal allowance, helping them at a time when they are being hit by rising inflation, mortgage rates, and with other government-influenced costs such as council tax rises in the pipeline.”
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