Scotland to Introduce Raft of New Business Rates Rules

September 14, 2017

A series of new business rates rules are to be introduced in Scotland in an effort that ministers north of the border hope will help make the country the most competitive in the UK when it comes to attracting investment.

Derek Mackay, finance minister for the Scottish government, has said that business rates will be capped in Scotland for companies in the hospitality sector and that rates will not be due in relation to newly built properties until after they’ve been occupied for over a year.

Nurseries will also become exempt from paying business rates and an existing cap on rates relating to commercial properties in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire will also be maintained.

Mr Mackay and the Scottish government’s policy agenda in the context of business rates are based in large part on a recently published report on non-domestic business rates called the Barclay Report.

That report was commissioned in 2016 by the government in Edinburgh and lead by Ken Barclay, formerly the head Scottish operations for the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Addressing the issue during a parliamentary session in Holyrood, Mr Mackay confirmed that his government intended to implement the “vast majority” of the 30 recommendations made in the Barclay Report.

The measures are being framed as a potential growth accelerator for businesses based throughout Scotland and for the national economy as a whole.

“The Barclay Review presented us with the opportunity to evaluate how we handle business rates and improve methods to make Scotland the most competitive place in the UK for businesses to invest and grow,” Mr Mackay said in a written statement.

“These new measures will help stimulate the economy and create jobs, which is key to readdressing the inequality that still exists in our society, as well as strengthening Scotland’s business appeal and generating new growth avenues,” he added.

Business rates have become a controversial subject in many different parts of the UK in recent months with a new rating system having been introduced in April.

The changes to the way that business rates bills were compiled left thousands of companies facing a sizable increase in their overheads and for some the extra expenditure led to serious financial problems and insolvency.

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