LEGISLATION ‘SHOULD NOT BE LIMIT OF AMBITION’ ON RATES REFORM - SRC
21 May 2019
In its submission to Holyrood’s Local Government & Communities Committee on the Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill, the Scottish Retail Consortium has praised plans for more regular commercial property revaluations but warns decisive action is required to mitigate the rising rates burden.
The retail industry is Scotland’s largest private sector employer, providing almost a quarter of a million jobs and accounting for a fifth of business rates paid. The SRC’s members include well known high street, edge-of-town, online and grocery retailers. However, Scottish retail is an industry in transition and official data has shown a drop in the number of shops and retail jobs over recent years.
In its 6-page submission the leading industry representative body:
- Says the Bill signifies ‘tangible headway’ is being made on reforming the business rates system
- Welcomes the move to 3-yearly revaluations and a halving of the period between valuations being undertaken and coming into effect
- Notes the poundage tax rate is at a 20-year high and says there is more to do to improve competitiveness
- Calls for a medium term plan to lower the rate burden as well as a moratorium on any new levies or supplements
- Backs restoration of the level playing field with England on the large business rates supplement by Spring 2020 (as advocated by the Barclay Review)
- Seeks greater emphasis on the use by local councils of their existing powers to reduce rates
Note: The SRC’s submission is available on the Scottish Parliament Local Government & Communities Committee's website: https://www.parliament.scot/S5_Local_Gov/Inquiries/LGC_S5_19_NDR_23_SRC.pdf